Wednesday 26 September, 2018
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SC removing a sitting CJ will set ‘dangerous precedent’ – Poblador

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Abogado Alex Poblador, counsel for Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno, warned the 14 High Court magistrates about the impact of a sitting Chief Justice being ejected by hisor own peers.

Poblador said the grant of the quo warranto petition would set “a very dangerous precedent, erode the independence of the judiciary and the principle of separation of powers.”

He maintained that Section 2, Article XI of the Constitution provides that “impeachable officials 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.”

“It is not difficult to see that allowing the Solicitor General to remove a sitting justice by quo warranto will set a dangerous precedent that will destroy this public policy,” Poblador said while urging the SC justices during the oral arguments to dismiss Calida’s petition.

“If allowed to do so, what will stop the Solicitor General from filing similar petitions against any sitting Justice, based on any offense, whether impeachable or not, on the theory that such offense can somehow reflect on his integrity and probity?” he said.

Poblador also reiterated that the Chief Justice was continuously looking for her other Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALNs), which she intends to submit to the proper court—the Senate impeachment tribunal.

“The Chief Justice will do so, not because she has something to hide but simply because, firstly, this Honorable Court is not a trier of facts, let alone a trial court that can try and decide a complaint that she has violated the SALN laws,” Poblador said.

The impeachment proceedings, he argued, have commenced and once the Articles of Impeachment were filed with the Senate, it was the Senate that has the exclusive power to try and decide those issues.

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