Sereno asked to inhibit in Arroyo couple's case-A A +A
Thursday, September 6, 2012
MANILA -- A lawyer of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and former First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo asked Thursday Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno to inhibit herself from deciding a pending case filed before the Supreme Court against the former leader and her spouse.
The Arroyo spouses earlier filed separate petitions, which were later consolidated, in the high court questioning the issuance of a watch-list order (WLO) issued against them by the Department of Justice. The Arroyos eventually secured from the SC a temporary restraining order on December 13, in which Sereno dissented.
In a motion for inhibition, lawyer Ferdinand Topacio said that Sereno has demonstrated her "bias and partiality" towards the present administration, and she has shown her propensity for voting in favor of the Aquino administration, thus, she should recuse herself from hearing the case.
Topacio cited Sereno's voting record in the cases involving the Truth Commission, the impeachment of Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez, the confidentiality of the dollar accounts filed by Philippine Savings Bank, the temporary restraining order in favor of Arroyo and the release of court records in connection with the impeachment trial of then Chief Justice Renato Corona.
He further pointed out Sereno's dissenting opinion in the Hacienda Luisita case, wherein she suggested a higher compensation for the Cojuangcos using the 2006 valuation.
"The Chief Justice has shown that in deciding cases, she has put personal predilections over and above the letter of the law, to the extent of locking horns with the majority. She thus shows that deficiency in the requisite objectivity that should suffuse all the official acts of a judge. If she is to serve her oath well, she has no recourse but to recuse herself; there is no other way," Topacio said.
The lawyer claimed the Chief Justice already prejudged the case, as evidenced by her dissents in the instant case, where she showed a strong inclination to favor the government, and in which she revealed certain confidential information relating to the deliberations of the SC.
"All of the above instances illustrate in big bright impasto strokes the propensity of CJ Sereno to vote blindly and consistently in favor of the stand of the present administration whenever it has shown its unequivocal interest – and at times a direct hand – in a desired result from the Supreme Court. This may be a consequence of her having been plucked from relative obscurity and appointed Associate Justice by the sitting President, a debt of gratitude now magnified many times over by her recent appointment as Chief Justice," said the Arroyo counsel.
He further pointed out that Sereno's dissent had been used as basis by Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, the respondent in the case, in brazenly disregarding the SC's temporary restraining order. (JCV/Sunnex)