MAKABAYAN BLOC APPEALS TO INTERVENE IN QUO WARRANTO PROCEEDINGS VS. CJ SERENO
Lawmakers from the Makabayan bloc, a former senator and other individuals flocked to the Supreme Court (SC) on Thursday to appeal to the High Court the dismissal of the ouster plea against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, through an intervention in the case.
The group filed an opposition-in-intervention that seeks the junking of Solicitor General's quo warranto petition.
According to BayanMuna Representative Carlos Zarate, the quo warranto case sets a very dangerous and ruinous precedent that can even be used against any impeachable officer, including other justices of the Supreme Court who go against the wishes of an in the crosshairs of the administration or interest groups.
The identified intervenors are Representatives Antonio Tinio, France Castro, Emmi De Jesus, Arlene Brosas, Ariel Casilao, and Kabataan Party-list Representative Sarah Elago.
Also included are Former Senator Rene Saguisag, Bishop Broderick Pabillo, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan Secretary General Renato Reyes, Jr., Aksyon Demokratiko affiliate Kaye Ann Legaspi, and National Union of People's Lawyers Secretary General Ephraim Cortez, as well as, Francisco Alcuaz, Bonifacio Ilagan, and Retired Colonel George Rabusa, all convenors of watchdog group Movement Against Tyranny.
The intervenors argue Chief Justice Sereno may only be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, the impeachable grounds; it is only the Congress who has the power to remove the Chief Justice through impeachment, and the issue of Sereno's non-filing of Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth does not affect her qualifications as highest magistrate in the SC.
ACT Teachers Partylist Representative Tinio, meantime, said they have filed this motion so that they could be included in the proceedings and support the Chief magistrate from the quo warranto case filed against her, as the this is wrong and unconstitutional.
Intervention is a remedy by which a third party who is not originally impleaded in a case may participate in its litigation order to protect a right that may be affected by the decision on the case.
However, it the only the court who has the discretion whether or not a party can intervene.
Meanwhile, Zarate said the SC itself ruled that it is forbidden to shortcut or circumvent the impeachment process.
But Earlier, House leaders such as House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, Majority Floor Leader Rodolfo Fariñas, and House Justice Committee Reynaldo Umali said impeachment and the quo warranto case are two different proceedings.
For them, the quo warranto case attacks the validity of the appointment, while the impeachment attacks the possible violations of the impeachable official.
Early Thursday, a small group of individuals led by activitist priest Robert Reyes also filed an intervention opposing the petition.
Meanwhile, the board of governors of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) in its meeting on Wednesday, decided to formally file the same intervention saying that it has the fundamental duty, shared with SC to uphold the Constitution, advocate for the rule of law and safeguard the administration of justice.
The IBP board of Governors decided to participate in the proceedings and offer legal insights, with careful effort not to fall into the trap of providing a simplistic answer to the rather complicated question that now confronts the judiciary, the resolution of which is of transcendental importance to our democracy.