By Ignacio R. Bunye
Expectedly, both jeers and cheers greeted the decision of the Supreme Court ousting Chief Justice Sereno by a vote of 8-6. And the noise is not expected to die down anytime soon.
Latest to join the fray in bashing the ouster decision was former Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr. who said that the justices who voted against Sereno may be impeached. A majority of the Senate also passed a resolution urging the Supreme Court to review its decision. Sereno herself has asked President Duterte to resign for engineering the move to oust her.
Those who support the Quo Warranto Eight, on the other hand, just as noisily proclaim that Sereno got her just desserts.
As in a basketball game, the noise from the gallery will not add one point to alter the outcome of the game. The final result will really depend on the individual players – in this case, the 14 justices – who are actually on the court.
Senator Frank Drilon is first to acknowledge this. In so many words, Drilon says that the Senate has already expressed its sentiment on the matter. But if the majority of the Supreme Court ignores the Senate, there is nothing more the Senate can do.
As to the possibility of the Quo Warranto Eight being impeached, it is clear as day that any group contemplating this move would not even get to first base with the House Committee on Justice.
Sereno’s penultimate card is to file a motion for reconsideration as she and her counsel had previously announced. But this, I believe, will only be pro forma.
At the back of her own mind, Sereno feels that the fight at the Supreme Court is already lost.
The battle lines have been so clearly drawn that to expect any justice (who voted against Sereno) to reconsider his/her vote would be a stretch.
Sereno’s last card? She is now exploring a different platform where she will try to seek vindication.
This early, she is beginning to sound like Candidate Sereno (a publicist projected her as “Serene Sereno”) who is playing the underdog card.
Potential Bar question
I am almost sure that the landmark Quo Warranto case will be one of the questions in Political Law during the forthcoming Bar Exams later this year. Bar reviewees would do well to really study this case.
If I were an examinee, I would quote the dissenting opinion of Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio. I believe it is the correct way of deciding the Sereno case.
Carpio maintained that Sereno is guilty of not filing her SALNs for which she should be held accountable. But Sereno can only be removed via impeachment, not via a legal shortcut.
It is just too bad for Sereno that she failed to get the numbers to back her.
The importance of SALNs
Now we better appreciate how important it is for public servants – high and low – to file SALNs. Failure to do so can have dire consequences.
So it has become a yearly ritual for government to publish the SALNs of high-profile public figures.
Last week, we learned who were the “richest” and the “poorest” legislators.
My only question: Who checks the figures reported by the SALN filers? I don’t know. But I have a suspicion that most SALNs are understated.
And to me, the filing of an inaccurate SALN is no better than failure to do so.
Barangay/SK election results in Muntinlupa City
For those following political developments in Muntinlupa City, here are the Barangay and SK election results.
Tunasan: Barangay Chairman – Walter Ambayec Arcilla. SK Chairman – Seth Lance Sy Laureta
Poblacion: Barangay Chairman – Allen Fresnedi Ampaya. SK Chairman – Angelo Narciso Espeleta.
Putatan: Barangay Chairman – Danilo Rosca Teves. SK Chairman – Dhynia Mae Sarmiento Arciaga.
Bayanan: Barangay Chairman – Adorado Placido San Pedro. SK Chairman – Lorenz Emmanuel Hinon de Mesa.
Ayala Alabang: Barangay Chairman – Ruben Palomar Baes. SK Chairman – Jarmaine Salvador.
(The winners ran unopposed.)
Alabang: Barangay Chairman – Christine May Acuba Abas. SK Chairman – Jan Nhette Ahya C. Dancel.
Cupang: Barangay Chairman – Rainier Emmanuelle Bulos. SK Chairman – Kenichi de Los Ama Takagi Jr.
Buli: Barangay Chairman – Ronaldo L. Loresca. SK Chairman – Guian Carlos P. Cole.
Sucat: Barangay Chairman – Rafael Talplacido Sevilla. SK Chairman – Ramon Paolo Sarmiento Tolentino.
The election of incumbent Muntinlupa City Councilors Christine May Acuba Abas (Alabang) and Rafael Talplacido Sevilla (Sucat) will create two vacancies in Muntinlupa’s City Council.
The vacancies are expected to be filled up by the DILG from nominees submitted by the political parties under which Abas and Sevilla ran for city councilor.
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