Guilty, as predicted PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 14 May 2018 15:24

BEHIND  THE  LINES

BY BOB JALDON

San Jose, CA. — The Supreme Court, the court of last resort,  voted 8-6 in favor of the quo warranto petition filed by the Solicitor General to oust CJ Sereno as Chief Justice . The verdict was expected. As a matter of fact, some people close to Malacanang predicted an 11-2-1 vote. The “Magic 8” bulldozed their way around the law out of spite for their superior officer without probably realizing the consequences of their decision — on them.

I cannot help but reprint hereunder a column by one of the respected legal luminaries, a stalwart in the Cory Government in the 1980s, that appeared in the “Philippine News”,  a newspaper published in Daly City, California.

“Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes is one of the greatest justices who ever sat in the American Supreme Court. He was known as the GREAT DISSENTER because almost all his famous dissents became majority opinions long before he died in his early nineties. Justice Holmes said: ‘It seems to me that at this time we need education in the obvious more than the investigation of the obscure.’

“The quotation of Justice Holmes is important to everyone in the country, especially in particular reference to the quo warranto petition against Chief Justice Sereno. Why do I say that? The reason is quite simple. Any lawyer in this country who does not know that a petition for quo warranto is unconstitutional should go back to law school or return his diploma to the Supreme Court or cease to practice law.

“Why? It is obvious that an impeachable official cannot be subject to a quo warranto proceeding under Section 1 of Rule 66 of the Rules of Court. That provision refers only to ordinary officials not subject to impeachment. Any fool of a lawyer should know this: An impeachable official under Section 2 of Article XI of the Constitution can only be removed through impeachment in the House of Representatives by a vote of one-third of all the members of the House and conviction after trial in the Senate by two-thirds vote of all the members of the Senate...

“From my view, the move to impeach CJ Sereno is not only I’ll-advised, it is irrational proving the dictatorial bent of the Duterte presidency...Duterte has total control of the Supreme Court. At most, CJ Sereno can only have two or three justices with her as shown in the votes of the court when the Duterte presidency is involved. It is better for the Duterte government to have Sereno in the Court because it would show that Duterte is not really a complete dictator. It will even show to the critics that there is democratic space in Duterte’s presidency especially in the Supreme Court...

“Internal politics: There is so much internal politics in the Supreme Court. A number of justices have so arrogantly demonstrated their hatred for Sereno. They have publicly confessed not liking her but also hating her. Why?  A number of them are ambitioning to be Chief Justice...

“The belittling of CJ Sereno by some fellow justices, though she has not replied to the diatribes, does not do justice to the fine tradition of the Supreme Court. It has politicized the Supreme Court and this kind of politicization has damaged the SC which may take sometime to repair.”

But this “victory” of the SolGen is not final. Sereno through her lawyers will file a motion for reconsideration, though futile it may be, because not one of the Magic 8 will issue a reversal. “Makahuya” if that happens. That victory robbed Congress of its prosecutorial power to impeach an impeachable officer. The representatives and senators would have loved to put Sereno on the chopping block.

So, now, we have a heavily-divided, disfunctional Supreme Court. Is that good for the country?