Dispatch from Crame No. 254: Sen. Leila M. de Lima’s Statement on the Solicitor General’s filing of a quo warranto case vs the Chief Justice


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SolGen Calida claims that the filing of quo warranto proceedings against Chief Justice Sereno is “an act of kindness to a fellow lawyer,” because it will avoid what he referred to as the “indignity that the late Chief Justice Renato Corona suffered at the hands of politicians who unjustly convicted him.”

The statements of SolGen Calida are an affront to the Senate and to the Filipino people.

It is pure hubris on the part of this Solicitor General, and an affront to our Senate for him to say that the Senate is an unjust institution. Under the principle of checks and balances, our Constitution has solely granted the power to try and decide all cases of impeachment to the Senate.

It is improper and contemptuous for the SolGen to demean the Senate, acting as an impeachment court, before the trial even began. It is precisely in furtherance of the right to due process and the rule of law that the impeachment court is created, as to afford our impeachable officials their day in court.

It is, most importantly, the process that the Filipino people demand be followed, in accordance with the Fundamental Law that they ordained and promulgated. To demean the constitutionally appointed process of impeachment is to insult the Filipino people.

It is, furthermore, historical revisionism and propaganda to suggest, without basis, that the removal from office of the late, former Chief Justice was an unjust act “at the hands of politicians.”

He was not just given his day in court, he was, in fact, ably defended by a stellar team of defense lawyers, led by no less than a former Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, the late, great Serafin R. Cuevas. The trial was witnessed all over the world, after which then CJ Corona was convicted for a very specific and proven reason: for omitting substantial amounts of his wealth in his SALN.

Out of 23 Senators, 20 found him guilty—belonging to different political parties—when only 16 was needed for a conviction.

That is undisputable. To suggest otherwise is to peddle more lies and “alternative truths”, and is an even greater insult to the intellect of the Filipino people, who witnessed it all.

The sickeningly blatant attempt to fool the people is made even more apparent, given that many of the 20 who voted for conviction are now aligned—officially or otherwise—with the present Administration, including, now Senate President Koko Pimentel, Senators Escudero, Honasan, Lacson, Legarda and Sotto, and now DFA Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano. (The rest were Senators Ralph Recto, Franklin Drilon, Kiko Pangilinan, Antonio Trillanes IV, then Senators Pia Cayetano, Lito Lapid, Manny Villar, Edgardo Angara, Teofisto Guingona III, Sergio Osmeña III, Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon Revilla, Jr.)

At the time, the people demanded compliance from the lowest government employees up to the president himself to sign the waiver for disclosure of SALNs, but instead of hearing the people’s call for stricter anti-corruption measures and greater accountability, here is this Administration threatening and silencing those who are vocally critical of the abuses being committed by this Administration.

Who does Mr. Calida think he’s fooling? This is not an “act of kindness”. This is textbook political persecution, and attempt to rape, pillage and murder the Constitution—and the sovereign power of the Filipino people—right before our very eyes.

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