MANILA

Alvarez sees no impeachable offense by 8 justices

THE eight Associate Justices of the Supreme Court did not commit any impeachable offense when they voted to oust Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez said Monday, May 21.

"Personal opinion ko? I don't think so... kasi separation of powers eh. They acted within their powers as provided for by the Constitution," Alvarez said when asked whether or not the eight justices who granted the quo warranto petition against Sereno have committed an impeachable offense.

Alvarez said the impeachment complaint filed with the House of Representatives and the quo warranto petition filed before the SC against Sereno are two different issues.

"Kagaya ng sinabi ko dati (As I said), impeachment presupposes a valid appointment; quo warranto questions the validity of appointment kaya magkahiwalay po yun," he said.

"Wala namang nagkukuwestiyon na exclusive ang jurisdiction ng Congress in impeaching itong mga impeachable officials as provided for by the Constitution kaya lang hindi naman sinabing yun lang paraan para tanggalin itong mga impeachable officials na ito. Kung babasahin natin yung provision, nakalagay 'may'," he added.

Alvarez was referring to Article XI Section 2 of the 1987 Constitution which states that: "The President, the Vice-President, the Members of the Supreme Court, the Members of the Constitutional Commissions, and the Ombudsman may be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, culpable violation of the Constitution, treason, bribery, graft and corruption, other high crimes, or betrayal of public trust."

Akbayan Representative Tom Villarin last week said he will file impeachment complaints against the magistrates who ousted the Chief Justice through quo warranto over the non-filing of her Statement of Assets Liabilities and Networth (SALN) for culpable violation of the constitution.

Magnificent seven bloc members Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman and Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano earlier expressed support to this move.

Lawmakers belonging to the majority, however, seemed not inclined to support this.

"Opinyon nila yun. Kami naman hindi kami sang-ayon sa opinyon na yun (That is their opinion. We in the majority do not agree)," Alvarez said.

The following justices voted for Sereno's ouster: Teresita Leonardo De Castro, Diosdado Peralta, Lucas Bersamin, Francis Jardaleza, Samuel Martires, Andres Reyes Jr., and Alexander Gesmundo. (SunStar Philippines)


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