Impeachment eyed vs 9 SC judges in Grace Poe case

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Impeachment eyed vs 9 SC judges in Grace Poe case 1
Grace Poe greets supporters during an International Women's Day celebration Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA – A man attempted to file an impeachment complaint against the 9 Supreme Court justices who allowed Senator Grace Poe to run for president in the 2016 elections.

The complaint by Teofilo Pajarilla was against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno and Associate Justices Jose Portugal Perez, Presbitero Velasco, Jose Catral Mendoza, Lucas Bersamin, Marvic Leonen, Francis Jardeleza, Diosdado Peralta and Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa.

The complaint alleges that the justices committed culpable violation of the Constitution and betrayed public trust "when the decision, dated 8 March 2016, and the resolution, dated 5 April 2016, were promulgated and issued despite absolute lack of majority vote as required by the 1987 Constitution."

The complaint further alleges that the justices committed culpable violation of the constitution and betrayed public trust by disregarding the clear mandate and the provision of the Article 6, Section 2 of the 1987 Constitution as to the qualifications of a candidate for presidency in its determination that Poe is a qualified candidate in the seat of presidency.

Poe's opponents said there was no majority vote on the substantive issues of citizenship and residency since "only 7 of 15" SC justices or 7 out of the 9 in the majority declared Poe, a foundling, a natural-born Filipino citizen and resident of the Philippines for the past 10 years.

The complaint cited that Justices Caguioa and Peralta declined to vote on citizenship and residence. The two limited their ruling to the supposed existence of grave abuse of discretion on the part of respondent, the Commission on Elections.

It also expressed alarm that the justices voted on this case differently from the case of Marindque Rep. Regina Ongsiako Reyes who was voted to be disqualified from her post.

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"The respondents not only violated the Constitution but totally betrayed public trust as they all knew that the decision….lacks the majority requirement yet the same was presented and issued as a majority decision,'' the complaint read.

The complaint, however, could not be acted upon since no congressman endorsed the complaint as required by the Constitution.