Lacson to colleagues : Hold tongue on quo warranto case vs. Sereno

MANILA Senator Panfilo Lacson on Tuesday said that it would be better for senators to refrain from commenting on the quo warranto case filed against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, stressing that their opinions might reveal their sentiments if ever the impeachment case against Sereno reaches the Senate.

"This issue involves the highest court of the land. So ako, as a senator who would be a potential judge and jury if and when the articles of impeachment are transmitted to the Senate, I'd rather exercise supreme prudence kasi SC (Supreme Court) ang pinag-uusapan, Lacson said in an ambush interview.

Huwag na natin panghimasukan, they know what to do, he added.

Lacson, who served as senator-judge during the impeachment of former Chief Justice Corona, told reporters that any comments on whether to retain or oust Sereno as Chief Justice with regards to the quo warranto petition may be construed by the public as biases when they sit as judge and jury in an impeachment proceeding.

If we express our individual opinions on the matter of maalis o ma-retain si CJ, somehow mababasa ninyo kung ano ang sentiment ngjudge, ng isang jury pagdating ng impeachment complaint sa amin. Kasi kami ang mag-a-acquit o magko-convict, he said.

So mas mainam ang let's wait for the SC to do their thing, and wait and see anong action to be taken by the SC, Lacson said.

The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) on Monday filed a petition for quo warranto against Sereno, which sought to nullify her appointment as Chief Justice.

In the 34-page petition, the OSG said the quo warranto petition is the appropriate remedy to question the validity of Sereno's appointment, saying the Chief Justice is "unlawfully holding" her post due to her alleged failure to fully declare her wealth prior to her appointment as Chief Justice.

Members of the opposition have been quick to decry the move, saying that Sereno, like all impeachable officials, could only be removed from office through impeachment proceedings.

The OSG, however, pointed out that its "quo warranto" petition against the Chief Magistrate should be treated separately from the impeachment proceedings.

The OSG said that the impeachment complaint questions Sereno's alleged violations and offenses after her appointment as Chief Justice, while the quo warranto petition questions her eligibility for the post prior to her appointment.

Source: Philippine News Agency