Pimentel asks: Isn’t removal through quo warranto unconstitutional?
By Xave Gregorio
Senate President Koko Pimentel posed a question which cast doubt on the constitutionality of the quo warranto petition against Chief Justice on leave Maria Lourdes Sereno pending before the Supreme Court (SC).
“Kung ang ending ng quo warranto ay pagtanggal sa serbisyo ng isang opisyal ng gobyerno na binanggit sa impeachment provision ng Constitution, hindi ba nilabag mo ang prinsipyo na ‘yun?” Pimentel asked in a radio interview Saturday on DWIZ.
Section 2, Article XI of the Constitution provides that the president, vice president, members of the Supreme Court, members of the Constitutional Commissions and the Ombudsman may be removed through impeachment.
It also provides that “all other public officers and employees may be removed from office as provided by law, but not by impeachment.”
Pimentel, an abogado, explained that removing high-ranking officials from office was purposely made difficult and under grave circumstances.
“Kasi meron silang security of tenure. May fixed term. Paano sila alisin sa mahirap na paraan at mabigat na dahilan,” he said.
The Senate President also warned that the public would be judging the High Court depending on its decision on the quo warranto petition filed by the Office of the Solicitor General.
Opposition Senators Leila De Lima and Antonio Trillanes IV have submitted to the SC an opposition-in-intervention in a bid to convince magistrates to junk the quo warranto petition.
Even if they have opposed the quo warranto petition, it does not necessarily mean that they also oppose the charges against Sereno, Pimentel said.
“Pwede ka kasing disagree ka sa quo warranto, pero pagdating sa trial mag-vote ka ng guilty,” he said.
“They are not revealing their sentiments on the trial just because they are opposing the quo warranto,” he added.
But Sereno’s impeachment, which is yet to be voted upon by House members in plenary, may not even reach the Senate impeachment court, with reports saying the SC may rule in favor of the quo warranto petition before Congress resumes on May 15, rendering the impeachment moot.