MANILA, Philippines - Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda has no right to tell the Supreme Court not to interfere in the impeachment case against Chief Justice Renato Corona, a lawyer of former First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo said Friday.
In a statement, Atty. Ferdinand Topacio said Lacierda's statement that the SC "keep off" Corona's impeachment trial "is another arrogant display of Malacanang's propensity for imposing its will on a co-equal branch of government."
Topacio said the 1987 Constitution empowers the High Tribunal to rule on the validity of the acts of any of the other branches of government. He said the SC made use of this power when it ruled that 2 impeachment complaints cannot be filed against then Chief Justice Hilario Davide in the same year.
He said it was unbecoming of Lacierda to "wag his finger" at the SC magistrates in defiance of well-settled jurisprudence.
"One wonders whether Atty. Lacierda, who as a private practitioner has never handled any case of any consequence pertaining to the rights of the poor and oppressed victims of injustice, would have such courage to remonstrate the Supreme Court, if he did not have behind him the backing of the Palace, his title as a Cabinet Member, and the support of a sanctimonious civil society group whose members claim to have a direct, two-way communication with God," he added.