Accusations against mistreatment filed against 7 SC judges The Castro eyed as next CJ?
MANILA, PHILIPPINES – Seven of the eight Supreme Court judges who voted to have Maria Lourdes Sereno removed by means of a single quo-warranto petition are themselves confronted with a deposition by a removal of four opposition congressmen.
The four lawmakers – Gary Alejano of the party list Magdalo, Edcel Lagman of Albay, Teddy Baguilat Jr. of Ifugao and Tom Villarin of Akbayan-party list – filed a complaint yesterday against the seven judges, four of whom are fighting for the post left by Sereno.
The seven magistrates are Teresita de Castro, Diosdado Peralta, Lucas Bersamin, Andres Reyes, Francis Jardeleza, Noel Tijam and Alexander Gesmundo.
De Castro, Peralta, Bersamin and Reyes strive for the position of chief judge. There is a debate about whether the denial complaint would deprive them of the highest function in the judiciary.
Sources in the administration said that De Castro, as the archenemy of Sereno, can be appointed as a main course, giving her a chance to serve, even if only for two months until her retirement in October.
Former SC justice Samuel Martires was not included in the complaint, despite his role in Sereno & rd's deposition, after he was appointed as ombudsman to replace Conchita Carpio-Morales who retired in July.
The deposition of Sereno came after her colleagues in the High Tribunal had decided to approve the quo-warranto petition against her, filed by Solicitor General Jose Calida.
In his quo warranto case, Calida doubted the legitimacy of the appointment of Sereno by Aquino in 2012 and tried to immediately extinguish it, citing its failure to submit its statements of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN) from applicants at the top to serve SC message.
"The filing of the denial complaint is the right and legal place to account for their actions," said Alejano, a former captain of the navy.
Republicans of the liberal party Edgar Erice of Caloocan, Raul Daza of north Samar and Emmanuel Billones of Capiz support the filing of the complaint for rejection, but have not signed the document.
With Sereno & # 39; s deposition and the appointment of Martires as ombudsman, the High Tribunal now has 13 judges. Antonio Carpio is acting chief judge.
During a press conference, Lagman said that they decided to file the complaint of disapproval, so the SC magistrates would not get away with their "unconstitutional" move to sell Sereno. In May last year the judges voted 8-6 to grant Calida's petition for quo warranto.
Lagman claimed that the decision of the SC judges to invalidate Sereno's appointment is "not only erroneous but also malicious". He said that the step to remove Sereno "was not only devoid of constitutional anchorages, it is also a flagrant excuse, an orchestrated puppet theater."
In their accusation of rejection, the legislators accused the judges of "culpable violation of the (1987) constitution and the betrayal of public trust."
They also said that they wanted the seven judges to be held responsible for "abusing the constitutional power" of the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) "to investigate the qualifications of job applications in the judiciary."
The magistrates "should not be allowed to be supreme even in their arbitrariness and malice," remarked Lagman. "For them to escape, it is forgiveness of injustice and oppression."
The first chief judge in the history of the country was expelled by the late Renato Corona who in 2012 during the previous Aquino regime was convicted by a court of renegades of the Senate for misleading statements in his SALN & # 39; s.
Meanwhile, Justice Minister Menardo Guevarra, ex-officio member of JBC, emphasized that the accusation of dismissal against the four judges will not affect their bid for the position of Chief Justice.
He responded to Lagman's appeal that the JBC would remove the four of the applicants' shortlist to the SC's top scorer after filing a complaint against them.
"In my opinion, filing a complaint for rejection, which is not the same as a criminal or administrative complaint in the normal sense, will have no effect on the appointment of the four SC judges for the function of CJ," he said. in an SMS.
According to the JBC rules, applicants for vacancies in the judiciary are automatically excluded from the post with current administrative or criminal cases. Several applicants have suffered under this rule – including former justice secretaries Agnes Devanadera and Leila de Lima.
The high court or one of the four judges has not issued a statement in response to the complaint for dismissal.
"None of them actually read the complaint," said SC spokesperson Theodore Te in an SMS. – Edu Punay