Anda di halaman 1dari 6

REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES

SUPREME COURT
MANILA
EN BANC

MARIA LOURDES P.A. SERENO, G.R. No. 237428


Petitioner
-versus-

REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES,


represented by SOLICITOR
GENERAL JOSE C. CALIDA,
Respondent

MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION


(Of the Decision Dated May 11, 2018)

Petitioner moves for the reconsideration of the Decision promulgated


on May 11, 2018 based on the following:

GROUNDS

I
To remove an Impeachable Officer using quo warranto proceeding is
erroneous.
II
The Constitution should be interpreted as a whole.

III
The repeated non-filing of the SALNs constitutes as betrayal of public
trust which is a ground for impeachment under the Constitution.

IV
The Supreme Court has no jurisdiction over the case.
V
Assuming that quo warranto is available, the alleged non-submission
or incomplete submission of SALN to the JBC is not a valid ground to
question the eligibility of the petitioner.
DISCUSSION
I
To remove an Impeachable Officer using quo warranto proceeding
is erroneous.
Section 2, Article XI of the Constitution provides:

“The President, the Vice-President, the Members of the Supreme Court,


the Members of the Constitutional Commissions, and the Ombudsman
may be removed from office, on impeachment for, and conviction of,
culpable violation of the Constitution, treason, bribery, graft and
corruption, other high crimes, or betrayal of public trust. All other public
officers and employees may be removed from office as provided by law,
but not by impeachment.”

According to the ponencia, "the language of Section 2, Article XI of


the Constitution does not foreclose a quo warranto action against
impeachable officers. x xx. To construe Section 2, Article XI of the
Constitution as proscribing a quo warranto petition is to deprive the State
of a remedy to correct a 'public wrong' arising from defective or void
appointments."
The ponencia posits that "while impeachment concerns actions that
make the officer unfit to continue exercising his or her office, quo warranto
involves matters that render him or her ineligible to hold the position to
begin with. "
This is erroneous.

The above provision proscribes removal from office of the


aforementioned constitutional officers by any other method; otherwise, to
allow a public officer who may be removed solely by impeachment to be
charged criminally while holding his office with an offense that carries the
penalty of removal from office, would be violative of the clear mandate of
the fundamental law.
The provision mandating removal only by impeachment is "the
Constitution's strongest guarantee of security of tenure. The guarantee
effectively blocks the use of other legal ways of ousting an officer." Thus, in
In Re: First Indorsement from Hon. Gonzales , the argument that a sitting
member of this Court may be subjected to disbarment proceedings, which
could possibly result in the sitting Justice being disbarred and thus not
qualified for the position, was rejected by this Court, thus:
“A public officer who under the Constitution is required to be a Member of the
Philippine Bar as a qualification for the office held by him and who may be removed
from office only by impeachment, cannot be charged with disbarment during the
incumbency of such public officer. Further, such public officer, during his
incumbency, cannot be charged criminally before the Sandiganbayan or any other
court with any offence which carries with it the penalty of removal from office, or
any penalty service of which would amount to removal from office”.

The above rule rests on the fundamental principles of judicial


independence and separation of powers. The rule is important because
judicial independence is important. Without the protection of this rule,
Members of the Supreme Court would be vulnerable to all manners of
charges which might be brought against them by unsuccessful litigants or
their lawyers or by other parties who, for any number of reasons might seek
to affect the exercise of judicial authority by the Court.
A sitting impeachable officer can be removed from office only
through impeachment by Congress. Under the Constitution, the sole
disciplining authority of all impeachable officers, including Justices of this
Court, is Congress. Section 3(1), Article XI of the Constitution provides that,
"The House of Representatives shall have the exclusive power to initiate all
cases of impeachment." Likewise, Section 3(6) of the same Article provides
that, "The Senate shall have the sole power to try and decide cases of
impeachment." These provisions constitute Congress as the exclusive
authority to discipline all impeachable officers for any impeachable offense,
including "betrayal of public trust," a "catchall phrase" to cover any
misconduct involving breach of public trust by an impeachable officer.
Thus, this Court should treat the present quo warranto petition as an
administrative investigation by this Court of one of its members. The
resolution of this Court should be to refer its findings and recommendation
against respondent to Congress.
II
The Constitution should be interpreted as a whole.
The ponencia declares that impeachment is not the exclusive mode
of removing an impeachable officer from office. It is averred that Section 2,
Article IX permits alternative modes of removal on the basis of the used of
the word “may” and pursuant to the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET)
Rules which states that the eligibility of the President and Vice-President,
who are both impeachable officers, may be questioned through a petition
for quo warranto.
This is erroneous.

It is established rule that the Constitution in statutory construction


should be interpreted as a whole.
The proposition that quo warranto is available against the President
and Vice-President is expressly provided for in Section 4, Article VII of the
Constitution which provides:
“xxxx The Supreme Court, sitting en banc, shall be the sole judge of all contests
relating to the election, returns, and qualifications of the President or Vice-
President, and may promulgate its rules for the purpose xxxx”

Looking at this provision, it can be gleaned that with regard to the


President, the Vice-President, the Members of the Supreme Court, the
Members of the Constitutional Commissions, and the Ombudsman, the
general rule is Section 2, Article IX and the exception is the above
constitutional provision which applies only to the President and Vice-
President. This exception applies only to specific impeachable officer. Except
for this provision, nothing in the Constitution provides for any other
exceptions for the other impeachable officers. Therefore, quo warranto is
not applicable against a member of the Supreme Court.
Also, our Constitution adheres to the system of checks and balances
and doctrine of separation of powers. In our country, the system of checks
and balances is done by the three separate branches of the government,
executive, legislative and judiciary, among each other. Each of these
branches should be independent from one another. In our constitution, the
impeachment mechanism is the only check on the members of the
Supreme Court which is exclusively lodged to the jurisdiction of the
Legislative Department. To allow the Supreme Court to acquire jurisdiction
over a case for the removal of one of its member is an encroachment on the
power of the Legislative Department.
III
The repeated non-filing of the SALNs constitutes as betrayal of
public trust which is a ground for impeachment under the
Constitution.

The repeated non-filing of the SALNs is an express violation of the


Constitution specifically Sec. 17, Article XI. Integrity is one of the
qualifications to be a member of the Supreme Court. Lack thereof is a
violation of the constitution which then can be implied from the non-filing
of the SALNs. Filing of the SALNs promotes transparency. Hence, deliberate
non-filing constitutes bad faith. This act constitutes as betrayal of public
trust which is a ground for impeachment under the Constitution. Therefore,
the filing of a quo warranto case is not a proper remedy.

IV
The Supreme Court has no jurisdiction over the case.
The Supreme Court has no jurisdiction to void a presidential
appointment based on the endorsement of the Judicial and Bar Council,
which is the constitutional body empowered to screen nominees for
appointment in the judiciary.
Quo warranto, as a process to oust an impeachable officer and a
sitting member of the Supreme Court, is a legal abomination.

To allow a direct resort to quo warranto would amount to bypassing


the JBC, and in consequence, render vulnerable the integrity of the
Judiciary as an institution. No court, even the Supreme Court, can assume
the exclusive mandate of Congress to remove impeachable officers from
office. Indeed, the highly subjective requirements of competence, integrity,
probity and independence is addressed to the sound discretion of the
Judicial and Bar Council, in the exercise of its principal function of
recommending appointees to the Judiciary, and to the President, in the
exercise of its appointing power. The exercise of such discretion is beyond
judicial review.

The Supreme Court can only nullify any appointment made by the
President to the position of Members of the Supreme Court if there is a
GRAVE and CLEAR violation of the Constitution. Here, the controversy is
judicial as there are clear standards and parameters.

V
Assuming that quo warranto is available, the alleged non-
submission or incomplete submission of SALN to the JBC is not a
valid ground to question the eligibility of the petitioner.

The alleged submission or incomplete submission of SALN to the JBC


is not a valid ground to question the eligibility of the petitioner, the SALN
not being a constitutional requirement for the position of Chief Justice.

Article VII, Section 7 of the 1987 Constitution provides for members


of the Judiciary, particularly of the Supreme Court. The said section states:

Section 7. (1) No person shall be appointed Member of the Supreme Court or any lower
collegiate court unless he is a natural-born citizen of the Philippines. A member of the
Supreme Court must be at least forty years of age, and must have been for fifteen years
or more a judge of a lower court or engaged in the practice of law in the Philippines.
(2) The Congress shall prescribe the qualification of judges of lower courts, but no
person may be appointed judge thereof unless he is a citizen of the Philippines and a
member of the Philippine Bar.
(3) A Member of the Judiciary must be a person of proven competence, integrity, probity
and independence.

These qualifications are absolutely exclusive, and no one can add to


or lessen these qualifications.
PRAYER
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, it is most respectfully prayed that:
(a). This Motion for Reconsideration be set for oral argument for the
purpose of clarifying new issues raised in the Decision promulgated on May
11, 2018;
(b). After notice and hearing, the Decision promulgated on May 11, 2018 be
set aside and vacated.
Such other reliefs that are just and equitable under the premises are
likewise prayed for.
Manila, 19 May 2018.
Respectfully submitted.

Grey Kristoff Aranas


Lovelyn Atienza
Austine Campos
Althea Angela Gracia
Nia Coline Mendoza
Marinette Onda
Sherylyn Faith Pahulayan
Counsels for Petitioner