Justices who ousted Sereno face impeach raps


Posted at Aug 23 2018 12:55 PM | Updated as of Aug 24 2018 01:53 AM

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MANILA (UPDATED) - Allies of ousted Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno at the House of Representatives lodged Thursday an impeachment complaint against the 7 justices who booted her out of the Supreme Court (SC). 

Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, one of the complainants, alleged that the magistrates who voted for Sereno's removal committed culpable violation of the constitution and betrayal of public trust. 

Impeachable officers like Sereno can only be removed through impeachment proceedings before Congress, he reasoned in an ANC interview. 

"It is important the errant justices should be made accountable to the people... The ultimate standard of justice would be the impeachment and removal of the 7 justices against whom we will file the impeachment complaint, said Lagman. 

The Supreme Court in May voted 8-6 in favor of the petition filed by Solicitor General Jose Calida, who argued that Sereno's appointment was invalid because she failed to fully disclose her wealth when she applied as chief justice in 2012.

Among the associate justices who impeached Sereno were Teresita Leonardo-de Castro, Diosdado Peralta, Lucas Bersamin, Francis Jardeleza, Noel Tijam, Andres Reyes Jr., and Alexander Gesmundo. 

The magistrates have yet to comment on the impeachment complaint.

"No one has actually read them," said SC spokesman Theodore Te.

Asked if the complaint will have bearing on their respective applications for the chief justice post, Te said, "maybe we should just wait for the JBC (Judicial and Bar Council) to deliberate."

Former associate justice Samuel Martires also voted to impeach Sereno before he was appointed Ombudsman. He was not included in the impeachment complaint, said Lagman. 

Lagman filed the impeachment complaint with co-complainants Akbayan party-list Rep. Tom Villarin, Magdalo party-list Rep. Gary Alejano and Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat Jr. 

The high court in June affirmed with finality the impeachment of the country's first female chief justice, rejecting her motion for reconsideration. 

The JBC last week started interviewing applicants for Sereno's successor. - with reports from Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News