Rough Cuts | No reason to fear a Quo Warranto plea

Before anything else we’d like to congratulate our good friend and former fellow worker in the corporate network for disaster response program Ms. Olive Puentespina for being one of nine Filipinos who bagged the recent ASEAN Women Entrepreneurs Award.

Olive of Malagos Farmhouse is the woman behind bringing the Davao brand of chocolate and cheese in the world market. Together with husband Dr. Bo Puentespina this indefatigable lady has suited well to the Davao environment. It is therefore, not surprising if she made good in her endeavors to make certain agricultural products famous not only locally but also in the global scene.
Congratulations Olive! Congratulations too, to your mom-in-law Ma’am Charita Puentespina and Dr. Bo for being right there behind you in everything you do.
Well now, the decision of the Supreme Court en banc to oust then Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno, is water under the bridge. But there are issues that perhaps for a long, long time, will remain afloat in that water; more so because that decision will form part of Philippine Jurisprudence until reversed.
And we are referring to the dissenting opinion of six of the justices mostly claiming that the majority decision was actually “re-writing the country’s Constitution.” But reading the premises of the justices in granting the Solicitor General’s Quo Warranto petition any unbiased mind could easily discern why they have taken such position on the issue, unpopular though it may seem.
On the other hand, those against it, with the exception of Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, harping on the unconstitutionality of the Quo Warranto petition as a mode of unseating an impeachable official is also grounded in stone.
In the case of Carpio’s dissent he was able to temper its possible impact on those who have drawn their line against the former chief justice by arguing that Sereno was not however, without sin. The Senior Associate Justice showed his agreement that it was established in the deliberation of the Quo Warranto petition that the former Chief Justice did not fully submit all the copies of the required Statement of Assets Liabilities and Net worth (SALN) for so many number of years in succession. This non-compliance by Sereno, according to Carpio in his comment, was a violation of a constitutional mandate for all applicants of the Chief Justice position. But he still averred that impeachment should have been the only way to unseat the lady Chief Justice.
Somehow, our take on the matter was close to the position of Carpio’s. In our column days back in connection with the SolGen’s Quo Warranto Petition, we asserted that the Supreme Court En Banc will not grant the plea. We believe then that majority, if not all of the justices believe that the petition has merit and that its deliberation will establish Sereno’s Constitutional violations. The deliberations, we opined, would have confirmed the interpretation by a psychiatrist of Sereno’s psychiatric test result made during one of the House Committee on Justice hearings on her impeachment case.
In that column of ours we averred that the High Court will rebuke the SolGen. However, we asserted that the SC will allow all the records of its deliberation to be forwarded to the Senate as possible evidence during the impeachment trial.
We thought that Senior Associate Justice Carpio’s position on the issue was leading towards that direction.
But again, whatever is the stand of each legal and non-legal observers on the En Banc decision ousting the then Chief Justice no longer matters. We do not believe that the protestations of those against it can influence the justices to change their position when the High Court will deliberate the planned Motion for Reconsideration from the camp of the ousted former Chief Justice.
Meanwhile, we do not agree with the fear of Justice Marvic Leonen that the grant of the petition of the Solicitor General will result to the flooding of Quo Warranto petitions ousting appointees of former Presidents in the government.
And those who believe that they could be possible target should keep their peace. That is, if they are certain in their individual conscience that they have not committed any wrongdoings while serving in their capacity as such. No government will run after honest public servants including impeachable officers. Impeachment or Quo Warranto petitions will never succeed against any government executives who have not done any harm to the people.
Their honesty and integrity are enough assurance that they won’t be bothered by those in power. In fact they’d even be rewarded.
But of course if they have skeletons in their closets, then they have every reason to be afraid.

Posted in Opinion