MANILA, Philippines - The camp of former First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo has asked newly installed Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno to inhibit anew in a case involving former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
The case involves Mrs. Arroyo's petition assailing the constitutionality of a Department of Justice-Commission on Elections joint panel, which investigated and subsequently filed charges of electoral sabotage against the former chief executive.
In a 27-page motion through his lawyers Ferdinand Topacio and Joselito Lomangaya, Mr. Arroyo cited the following grounds for his motion:
- That the Chief Justice has demonstrated bias and partiality towards the present administration, whose alter ego the Secretary of Justice is one of the respondents in this case, as shown by her voting record in previous cases;
- That the Chief Justice is subservient to the Aquino-Cojuangco Family, whose interests cannot be divorced from the instant case, as shown by antecedent facts, and one of whose members – the incumbent President – has shown unwarranted interest in the outcome of the present case; and
- That the Chief Justice has prejudged the case, as in fact she has openly and directly coached the Solicitor-General as to the matters that should be included in his Memorandum in order to obtain a favorable ruling in this case.
Mr. Arroyo also claimed that during the holding of oral arguments on the case, Sereno, then an Associate Justice, made "obvious and palpable efforts to practically coach the Solicitor-General as to what to state in his Memorandum, including jurisprudence, to bolster the government's chances of a favorable ruling."
"The Chief Justice's solicitude towards the Solicitor-General cannot be ignored," the motion read.
The electoral sabotage raps caused Mrs. Arroyo to be detained for 8 months. It was only recently that she was granted bail by the Pasay City Regional Trial Court (RTC).
This is the second motion filed by Mr. Arroyo seeking Sereno's inhibition. Last week, he also sought the chief magistrate's inhibition in the case involving the Dept. of Justice's travel ban against him.