By Hannah Torregoza
Detained Senator Leila de Lima on Wednesday slammed Solicitor General Jose Calida for claiming that the filing of quo warranto proceedings against Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno is an act of kindness, saying such move is an affront to the Senate and to the Filipino people.
“It is pure hubris on the part of this Solicitor General, and an affront to our Senate for him to say that the Senate is an unjust institution,” De Lima said in a statement.
“Under the principle of checks and balances, our Constitution has solely granted the power to try and decide all cases of impeachment to the Senate,” she said.
As far as she is concerned, the senator said it is improper and contemptuous for the SolGen to demean the Senate, which will soon act as an impeachment court, before the trial even began.
“It is precisely in furtherance of the right to due process and the rule of law that the impeachment court is created, as to afford our impeachable officials their day in court,” she said.
De Lima, who is currently detained over drug charges at the Philippine National Police (PNP) said it is very important that the process that the Filipino people demand be followed, in accordance with the Fundamental Law that they ordained and promulgated.
“Because to demean the constitutionally appointed process of impeachment is to insult the Filipino people,” de Lima stressed.
She also noted that the Solicitor General seems to be promoting “historical revisionism” and propaganda to suggest, without basis, that the removal from office of the late former Chief Justice Renato Corona “was an unjust act at the hands of politicians.”
De Lima pointed out Corona was not just given his day in court, but in fact, ably defended by a stellar team of defense lawyers, led by no less than a former Associate Justice of the Supreme Court Serafin Cuevas.
“The trial was witnessed all over the world, after which then Chief Justice Corona was convicted for a very specific and proven reason: for omitting substantial amounts of his wealth in his SALN (Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net worth),” she pointed out.
De Lima also noted that the senators who voted to convict Corona—all belonged to different political parties. “Out of 23 senators, 20 found him guilty, when only 16 was needed for a conviction,” she said.
“That is undisputable. To suggest otherwise is to peddle more lies and alternative truths, and is an even greater insult to the intellect of the Filipino people, who witnessed it all,” she said.