Calida: Impeach raps vs 7 magistrates won’t prosper

Published August 24, 2018, 4:31 PM

by Francine Ciasico

By Jeffrey Damicog

Solicitor General Jose Calida believes the impeachment complaint against seven Supreme Court (SC) magistrates will not prosper.

Solicitor General Jose Calida (Czar Dancel)
Solicitor General Jose Calida (Czar Dancel / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

“The impeachment cases against Supreme Court Associate Justices Teresita Leonardo-De Castro, Diosdado Peralta, Lucas Bersamin, Francis Jardeleza, Noel Tijam, Andres Reyes Jr, and Alexander Gesmundo will not see the light of day,” said Calida in a statement on August 24.

Opposition legislators on Thursday filed before the House of Representatives impeachment complaints against the seven magistrates, all of whom voted for the ouster of former Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.

“If the opposition legislators’ logic will be followed, then all Justices, whose constitutional interpretation whose constitutional interpretation differ from them, can be impeached,” the Solicitor General said.

“Worst, following also this logic, Justices who dissented from the majority view in constitutional cases, can also be impeached,” he added.

“This will reduce impeachment to a mere vengeance mechanism, far from which it is intended for,” lamented Calida.

The Solicitor General advised the complainants that they should just come to terms with Sereno’s ouster “because by constitutional design, this is how our government should work.”

“The Supreme Court, through its Justices, has the solemn duty of being the final arbiter of constitutional issues and the interpreter of the words of the fundamental law,” Calida reminded.

“Thus, when Justices vote on an issue like the Quo Warranto case based on their interpretation of the Constitution, they are merely performing their constitutional duty,” he added.

With this, Calida stressed “it cannot be said that they committed culpable violation of the Constitution.”

On May 11, the SC voted 8-6 to grant the quo warranto petition of the solicitor general which sought to void Sereno’s 2012 appointment as Chief Justice for having failed to submit her Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN) which was one of the requirements set by the JBC.

One of those who voted also include then justice and now Ombudsman Samuel Martires.

The SC affirmed its ruling on June 19 when it junked Sereno’s motion for reconsideration.