Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima today urged her colleagues in the Senate to file a resolution urging the Supreme Court (SC) to suspend its proceedings on the quo warranto petition filed against SC Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.
In her Solidarity Message for Coalition for Justice (CFJ) read during a brief ceremony at the Senate, De Lima underscored the Senate’s sole prerogative as an independent branch of government to hear and decide on impeachment trial.
“Together, we should speak out and stand up for the Constitution and the system of checks and balances in government. Collectively, we should stand against a grave miscarriage of justice,” she said.
“As enshrined in the Constitution, the SC does not have authority to remove a member of the Court, which can only be done via impeachment. It is the sole prerogative of the Senate to hear and decide impeachment cases,” she added.
Convenors and members of the Coalition for Justice held a brief press conference at the Senate building on May 2, Wednesday, to urge senators to pass a resolution pressing the SC to suspend the said quo warranto petition against Sereno.
Solicitor General Jose Calida has filed a quo warranto petition seeking to oust Sereno whom he accused of “unlawfully holding” her post due to her alleged failure to make full disclosure in her Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Network (SALN).
In response, De Lima, along with Sen. Antonio “Sonny” F. Trillanes IV, filed an Opposition-in-Intervention against the quo warranto case to assert that such legal move in ousting an impeachable official is illegal and unconstitutional.
As petitioners, De Lima and Trillanes also filed a manifestation in the form of a special appeal to the members of the High Court to take a second look at the situation, to set aside their emotions, and protect the integrity of the institution.
The former justice secretary said she hopes that by now, her colleagues have already realized how Duterte is only using the entire State machinery to fulfill his selfish whim.
“Mula sa pagpapapatay sa libu-libong Pilipino, pagpapakulong sa pinakamatinding kritiko, hanggang sa panggigipit sa mga pinuno ng ating independent institutions, dinadaan sa shortcut at pag-abuso,” she said.
“Kahit labag sa batas, nagsasabwatan at kumikilos ang mga galamay ng mga nasa kapangyarihan para tuparin ang kagustuhan ni Duterte,” she added.
De Lima reminded her fellow senators that as lawmakers, they are always expected to protect, defend and uphold the Constitution for the greater good.
“Patunayan natin, bilang mga mambabatas na pinagkalooban ng mandato ng taumbayan, na wala tayong kinikilingan at pinapaboran kundi ang interes ng mga Pilipino at ang diwa ng ating demokrasya,” she said.