By: Elena Grace Flores
Associate Justice Teresita Leonardo-de Castro’s earlier testimony is supported by two other justices. She calls on the attention of the chief justice ever since. They claim that after 5 years, Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno still fails to ask the en banc. De Castro even asked; Until when will we suffer? As she implies on Sereno’s dictatorship at the SC. Bongbong Marcos, on the other hand, said that Sereno’s plight must not affect the recount for his election protest in February 2018 against Leni Robredo. Their proceeding is under the Tribunal. It might be favorable not to have an anti-Marcos as Chief Justice in a long run but for now, he can only see further delay in the ruling if she is impeached.
[VIDEO]: Four justices of the Supreme Court – 3 incumbent and one retired – stand as witnesses in the impeachment case filed against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.
Justices Criticize Sereno’s Dictatorship
Several associate justices of the Supreme Court openly criticize Chief Justice Sereno for mistakes she apparently makes during her 5-year term. “I believe that the actions of the chief justice from the time that she assumed her position showed no respect or courtesy to the court en banc,” said Associate De Castro. The House committee on justice continues to hear the impeachment case against Sereno.
Disregarding the En Banc
“I do not disagree with the characterizations made by Deputy Speaker Hernandez,” said Associate Justice Francis Jardeleza. He refers to South Cotabato 2nd District Representative Ferdinand Hernandez. Hernandez asks the SC justices if they are insulted by Sereno’s apparent habit of making decisions on her own. This is without consulting the en banc which refers to all 15 justices of the Supreme Court, including Sereno.
Advice to the Supreme Court CJ
“We are a very small group in the Supreme Court. I would tell her, don’t go that route. You are getting what you want through these devious means that are not right,” added retired associate justice, Arturo Brion. The House committee deliberates over 7 hearing days a complaint filed by lawyer Larry Gadon against Sereno. Among his allegations is that Sereno curtailed the power of the Supreme Court en banc, a collegial body, by making decisions on her own.
Complaints that Led the Impeachment Case
Aside from Sereno’s alleged dictatorship, the establishment of the Regional Court Administrator’s Office (RCAO) in Region VII is also under scrutiny. These are on top of t the issuance of a temporary restraining order in the proclamation of party-list group winners and the transfer of the Maute cases from Marawi City to Taguig City. The committee is set to vote by January 2018 – whether to accept or reject it.
Bongbong Marcos explains that no other election protests at the Presidential level have reached the full payment stage, unlike his protest. In short, it’s the only protest that is not abandoned despite the delay due to the Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno’s impeachment. Recently, SC Associate Justice Teresita de Castro testifies that Sereno issued an administrative order in 2012 that contradicted a resolution of the en banc on the opening of a regional court administrative office. Sereno’s Camp denies this. Its statement said that the SC en banc approved the creation of Regional Court Administrative Office (RCAO) in Region 7.
[VIDEO]: Bongbong Marcos nagsalita na sa Impeachment ni CJ Sereno
Former President Benigno Aquino III appointed Sereno despite being the most junior among those were shortlisted to replace the late Chief Justice Renato Corona. This is after what was dubbed allegedly as Corona’s unfair trial at the Senate.
De Castro stresses that she was not emotional when she discloses Sereno’s questionable decisions to the panel. She cannot question the ex-President’s appointment of Sereno. However, she cannot stand idly when there’s no more collective power in the Supreme Court. Particularly when the en back decisions are set aside.
Advice to the Panel
The Associate Justice suggests to the panel to look at the evidence available to determine if there’s substance or basis in her testimony. She is not a Justice for nothing after 20 years if they think that she is just emotional.
VP Election Recount
Marcos insists that Sereno’s plight must not affect the recount for his election protest against Leni Robredo. Their proceeding is under the Tribunal. He, However, can see further delay if the CJ is impeached. That could lead to a slow ruling. Robredo’s Lawyer, Romulo Macalintal got it all wrong again that no protests in the country yet has progressed. In fact, his client’s counter-protest is for dismissal due to the non-payment of their balance.
By: Elena Grace Flores
A leader is only as good as her people. The media stunt of VP Leni Robredo’s lawyers really made her look so bad. Lawyers Romulo Macalintal and Bernadette Sardillo’s recent accusation against Bongbong Marcos over his list of election fraud witnesses failed miserably. People are just stunned by the response of Atty. Vic Rodriguez from the Marcos Camp. Eventually, lawyers should know who qualifies as such. Social media comments go to the line of criticizing her camp to be as dumb as ever.
[VIDEO]: Kampo ni Marcos, bumwelta sa pahayag ng kampo ni Robredo
Resolution on BEI Requirement
The Section 5 of Comelec Resolution No. 10031 is misleading. Former-Comelec chairman Andres Bautista signs this. It cites that a person must be “a registered voter of the city or municipality.” This is to become a member or chairperson of the BEI. It has nothing to do with a witness’ qualification.
Disqualify Poll Officers First
Rodriguez said Robredo assumes that the poll officers they presented on their list are not qualified. As a lawyer, she should present proof that those whom she claims to have served as BEI’s are disqualified. It is unlawful just to resort to the spread of fake news. Irresponsible and false statements can backfire on them, the lawyer said. “Assuming they are indeed not qualified, Robredo should be reminded that it was ‘her own COMELEC’ then led by its impeached head, Andy Bautista, who appointed them, and not us,” he added.
BEI Witnesses Need not Be Precinct Voters
Board of Election Inspectors (BEIs) are not expected to be registered voters to the precincts they are serving or have served. All BEIs are only required to be registered voters. This is Rodriguez’s response after the camp of Vice President Leni Robredo, calls Marcos a liar over the list of witnesses for his election protest from Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, and Basilan.
Out of Sight
Immediately after the shameful event, the questionable VP disappears from the media scene. Supreme Court Chief Justice, Maria Lourdes Sereno takes over her spot in the limelight. This has to do with the ongoing Congressional hearings on her impeachment.
In an interview, Bongbong Marcos said that the recount for his election protest against Leni Robredo must proceed regardless of whether or not the Supreme Court Chief Maria Lourdes Sereno will resign or get impeached. He assures the public that abandoning it is not an option for the 2018 Senatorial election because he is certain he’s the Vice President. Just recently, Presidential spokesman Harry Roque issued the call that says; Sereno should resign and save the institution from “further damage.”
[VIDEO]: Bongbong Marcos nagsalita na sa Impeachment ni CJ Sereno
Probable Cause for Impeachment
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque issued the call as the House committee on justice prepares to meet on Nov. 20 to determine if there is probable cause to pursue impeachment proceedings against Sereno. Roque explained that the judiciary might not survive another removal of a chief justice through impeachment. He refers to the 2012 ouster of Sereno’s predecessor Renato Corona during the Aquino administration. Corona was impeached for not declaring all his wealth in his statements of assets, liabilities and net worth or SALN.
The President Wants to Remove the CJ
Asked whether President Duterte shared his view on Sereno, Roque said, “Of course, the President wants her removed altogether, by all means.” Last month, the House of Representatives voted to impeach Andres Bautista, but he stepped down as chairman of the Commission on Elections before the chamber could forward his case to the Senate for trial. During the Aquino administration, the House also impeached Merceditas Gutierrez. She resigned as ombudsman instead of facing the Senate impeachment court.
The impeachment complaint against Sereno, filed by lawyer Lorenzo Gadon, stems from her alleged failure to declare P37 million in professional fees as a private lawyer representing the government. This is in the case against Philippine International Air Terminals Co. Inc (Piatco), builder of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3.
Not Abandoning Protest
Bongbong Marcos knows that Robredo’s camp hopes for him to run as Senator so that his electoral protest is deemed moot. He said that doing so is an admission that he was not the winner of the Vice Presidential race. Since he is confident that he could have won if not cheated, there’s no way that he will abandon it. In fact, he is calling for the immediate recount.
The House justice committee declares that the impeachment complaint against Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno has “sufficient grounds.” She is an appointee of Pnoy. The complaint of lawyer Larry Gadon cites at least 27 points against the Chief Justice. This occurs when COMELEC asks for additional time to comply with the SC’s show cause order on Bongbong Marcos’ recount preparation. Will this speed up the VP electoral protest? Sereno vows not to attend the hearings to prioritize her work. However, Marcos is confident that he will soon be Vice President.
[VIDEO]: Impeachment complaint vs CJ Sereno, idineklarang ‘sufficient in grounds’
Majority Votes against the Supreme Court CJ
Twenty-five members of the committee voted in favor to declare sufficient grounds for the complaint. Only two opposed it. Albay 1st District Representative Edcel Lagman and Dinagat Representative Kaka Bag-ao argued that the sufficiency of grounds must be discussed one by one. Lagman who belongs to the minority, cannot vote. He is not a member of the committee.
Timing Coincides with Recount
The committee is to deliberate if there is probable cause to pursue the impeachment complaint. Committee chairman Reynaldo Umali said this would happen in November when the recount is expected to start. The impeachment session is set to adjourn on October 14. It resumes on November 13.
Alliance with President Du30
Bongbong Marcos confirms that his family was in talks with the President, a political ally. This is to end the previous government’s hunt for billions of dollars worth of national assets deposited by the Marcos patriarch for the welfare of the people at the World Bank. The son insists that they do not need immunity because they are innocent of any wrongdoing. They are willing to help in the proceeding.
The Real Vice President
“We are definitely sure that when the recount starts the true result will emerge and prove that the votes in the vice-presidential election had been incorrectly counted,” Marcos addresses the media during a press conference. It seems that he is really aware of the current moves of the government given the circumstances. Perhaps Sereno’s impeachment and the recount timing is not a coincidence.
Lawyer Larry Gadon who filed an impeachment complaint against Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno admits that he ran for Senator under the banner of Lakas and the Kilusang Bagong Lipunan (KBL) in 2016. The party is affiliated with the Marcoses. But he firmly denied; “No, Bongbong Marcos has nothing to do with this complaint. In fact, he was surprised that I am the one who filed it.”
[VIDEO]: Bongbong, Duterte backing Sereno impeachment? Lawyer says no
No Presidential Influence
He also denied that President Du30 is behind the complaint. “I only met the President 5 times and we never talked. Just a shake hand and ‘hi, sir’ and thank you. That’s all. He has nothing to do with this.”
Gadon also denied that former President and now Congresswoman Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is behind the complaint. This speculation mushrooms after her previous appointee, the late Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona, was impeached and removed from the High Court. Gadon is a member of Arroyo’s legal team.
Vengeance is Not for Arroyo
Gadon previously tried to convince Mrs. Arroyo to file a complaint against Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales. This was for malicious persecution but Mrs. Arroyo rejected the idea. He was even scolded when he told reporters that she was contemplating on filing a case. He said this time that Mrs. Arroyo did not endorse the impeachment complaint against Sereno. “I did not ask her,” he said.
Sufficient in Form and Substance
The House of Representatives justice committee recently announces that Gadon’s complaint is sufficient in form and substance. Among the Supreme Court documents, Gadon used were official lists of Sereno’s travel expenses and appointment letters. He also cited the Supreme Court’s purchase of a P5.1 million luxury vehicle for the CJ. Sereno’s discrepancies on her statement of assets liabilities and net worth (SALN) and her attorney’s fees in the Piatco Case were also raised. Sereno decided to keep quiet about it and refrained from making comments.