SENATOR Panfilo Lacson rejected calls Wednesday for Senate to take a stand against the ouster of Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno through a quo warranto proceeding, saying the Senate has no jurisdiction over the case decided by the Supreme Court.
Lacson was reacting to a draft resolution signed by eight senators urging the Supreme Court to review its decision.
“First, we have no jurisdiction. Why? Because the articles of impeachment have not yet been transmitted. It depends if the House transmits the articles of impeachment to the Senate, that’s another matter we have to discuss as a collegial body,” Lacson said.
At present, Lacson said, they have nothing to talk about because the articles are not with the Senate.
“For us, that’s a political process. In the court, it’s a judicial process,” he said, warning of a constitutional crisis if the judicial process of the Supreme Court clashes with the political process of Congress.
“We cannot question the SC because we are not authorized. There is no authority,” he said.
Only the Supreme Court can reverse or check legislative action or even executive action due to grave abuse of discretion. He said the Senate cannot tell the Court that it abused its discretion.
“We are not empowered, we are not authorized to do that under existing laws,” he said.
Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said the Senate minority bloc will file a resolution stating that only the Senate, acting as an impeachment court, can remove an impeachable official.
He said resolution intends to inform the Supreme Court of the sentiment of the Senate.
“We are looking at the possibility of moving for a sense of the Senate resolution reiterating our legal position that it is the Senate acting, as an impeachment court, who can remove impeachable officers,” he said.
Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III said he is open to reading the resolution and hoped to entertain it in case it’s filed. He said it will be referred to the proper committee.
“We are the Senate, we can express our sentiments on anything under the sun. That is allowed in the Bill of Rights, that we are allowed to the right for free expression,” he added.
Senator Paolo Benigno Aquino IV said they are appealing to the Senate to stand together and call out the Supreme Court for violating the rule of law and denying the Filipino people their right to hear the truth through a public impeachment trial.
He said a resolution is making the rounds in the Senate to categorically oppose the Court’s unconstitutional quo warranto decision.
“This abuse of power threatens every Filipino and now we senators must make a stand and fulfill our mandate to uphold checks and balances, whatever our political color,” Aquino said.
“Together with the public, we must dissent this abuse to our rights and our sacred Constitution. And we must now be fiercely vigilant and discerning of every decision made by the SC. They should know that the Filipino people are watching,” he also said.
Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto and Senator Joel Villanueva, both members of the majority bloc in the Senate, confirmed signing the resolution.