Sereno ouster weakened Congress —Senate chief

SENATE President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel 3rd on Saturday said the Supreme Court (SC) decision to oust Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno through a quo warranto petition has “weakened” the power of Congress to remove all impeachable officials.

He, however, added that the SC ruling will not lead to a constitutional crisis if the House of Representatives accepts the tribunal’s decision that it already removed Sereno. Pimentel said that the House of Representatives has a “crucial role” in validating the SC decision since it can also ignore it and proceed with the impeachment process.

Sereno ouster weakened Congress -Senate chief

SENATE President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel 3rd on Saturday said the Supreme Court (SC) decision to oust Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno through a quo warranto petition has “weakened” the power of Congress to remove all impeachable officials.

When asked about the implication of the ruling, the Senate chief replied, “It will weaken our impeachment process.”

“I’m sure of that because the Supreme Court took the role of two Houses of Congress to remove an official,” Pimentel said in a radio interview.

When also asked whether the move of the House will be crucial in validating the Supreme Court’s decision, he answered, “Yes. That is crucial because if they don’t agree with the Supreme Court decision and they still believe that Sereno is still the chief justice, then that is already the start of a possible clash between the House and the Supreme Court.”

“We will have a constitutional crisis if the House will say that the removal of Sereno by the Supreme Court was not valid. And in the eyes of the House, Sereno is still a still chief justice and decides to transmit the Articles of Impeachment to the Senate,” Pimentel said.

He added, “And when the Articles of Impeachment reaches the Senate and the senators will agree with the

House and decide to conduct the trial, then we have a problem. What is her real status? Removed or not?”

“If the House will not transmit [the Articles of Impeachment], there will be no impeachment trial in the Senate. All we could do is voice our opinion for or against the Supreme Court decision,” Pimentel said.

Also according to Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, the Supreme Court ruling will not lead to a constitutional crisis.

“I don’t think Sereno will insist on performing her duty as the chief justice,” Drilon said in a separate radio interview.

“The problem here is that the SolGen [Solicitor General] can now can file quo warranto against any impeachable official,” he added.

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