By Ben Rosario
The Magnificent Seven, an opposition bloc allied with the Liberal Party, is preparing impeachment complaints against eight Supreme Court justices who ruled in favor of the ouster of Chief Justice Mria Lourdes Sereno by upholding the quo warranto petition filed by government lawyers.
Reacting to disclosure on the planned impeachment cases, senior members of the House minority and majority bloc aired serious doubts the bid to unseat the eight justices will ever succeed.
Deputy Speaker Fredenil Castro (NUP, Capiz) was joined by fellow administration Reps. Gus Tambunting (PDP-Laban, Paranaque City); Johnny Ty Pimentel (PDP-Laban, Surigao del Norte); Roger Mercado (PDP-Laban Southern Leyte) and Rodito Albano (NP, Isabela), in belittling the opposition move.
Asst. Minority Leader Eugene De Vera cited various legal principles that are adverse to the impeachment move.
In a press statement, Akbayan Partylist Rep. Tom Villarin, said that by “effectively ousting” Sereno, the eight associate justice may face impeachment for ‘usurping the exclusive power of Congress to remove the Chief Justice.”
He cited Section 2 of Article XI of the 1987 Constitution that provides that the chief justice may only be removed from office via impeachment.
“By removing the Chief Justice through quo warranto, the associate justices are culpable of violating these provisions of the 1987 Constitution, which can be a ground for their own impeachment,” stated Villarin.
Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano, another Magnificent Seven member, said he believes the eight justice had committed an impeachable offense.
“Thus, we strongly believe that the filing of impeachment complaints against the justices is the only viable remedy to correct this mistake and save the integrity of the Supreme Court before the Filipino people,” he said.
“As opposed to what the justices had exercised, we want to follow the legal way based on what is provided for in the Constitution.
This action, which the Magdalo has been proposing, was already discussed in meetings with various opposition groups and apparently has gained support,” explained Alejano.
Magnificent Seven head and Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman said announcement of the impeachment action will be announced on Tuesday.
“That’s a violation of the separation of powers. If they initiate impeachment on the basis of a justice’s ruling on a case, then no justice will be free to decide,” Tambunting stated in reaction to the planned impeachment case.
Pimentel and Mercado strongly doubted the impeachment of the eight magistrates will ever get needed support in the Lower House.
With the Committee on Justice controlled by the Malacanang-backed majority, there is little chance that the Articles of Impeachment will be endorsed to the Senate.
“The legislative branch should respect the decision of an equal institution of our democratic system of government,” stated Mercado.
De Vera said impeachment complaints will be premature if the filing will take place before the SC has decided on the motion for reconsideration to the quo warranto ruling that Sereno is expected to file.
“The Supreme Court’s final decisions, being the final arbiter, should always be respected and obeyed by litigants, lawyers and other concerned parties as the SC’s mandate under the Constitution is to resolve such legal controversies whether or not in favor of either party,” explained De Vera.
He added: “Besides, the SC is a collegial body, deliberations held either in division of five or in important cases, by en banc, then majority rules. As such, the decision becomes part of the laws of the land.”