Tijam urges Sereno: Respect rule of law, attend hearings


Posted at Dec 11 2017 02:50 PM

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Associate Justice Noel Tijam on Monday said Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno's decision to skip the impeachment hearings may constitute a culpable violation of the Constitution if she continues to snub the House justice panel.

Speaking before the House justice committee, Tijam confirmed his earlier statements in a Manila Times article urging Sereno to appear before the lower House panel.

"It's a recognition of the duty of public accountability. We have to be, as members of the high court, we discipline members of the judiciary and the legal profession but we cannot exempt ourselves from public accountability and we recognize that constitutional process of impeachment because it is in the Constitution," he said in response to a question by Salvador Belaro Jr. of 1-Ang Edukasyon party.

Asked if Sereno committed culpable violation of the Constitution, Tijam said: "With all due respect, your honor, I premised it. I said if the Chief Justice continues or refuses to appear and recognize the proceedings before Congress on the impeachment it may constitute a culpable violation of the Constitution."

"My statement is not meant to prejudge the Chief Justice but rather to encourage her to respect the rule of law," he added.

Tijam also refused to say if the delay in the transfer of the Maute cases to Metro Manila constitutes betrayal of public trust. "In this particular instance you are the judges. We are not the judges. So I would hesitate to venture..." he said.

He also said that he is not privy to the actual "detriment, risk or danger" caused by the delay in the case transfer but said the High Court en banc could have acted on the matter faster.

ABS-CBN News, December 11, 2017