Pangilinan to SC: Only voters can correct Senate

Ayee Macaraig
Senator believes it's the voters, not the Supreme Court, who should judge the conduct of the impeachment trial.

DON'T STEP INTO THE FRAY. Sen. Francis Pangilinan asks the Supreme Court not to interfere in the impeachment trial. Photo from www.kiko.ph

MANILA, Philippines – It’s the people, not the justices who will judge the senator-judges.

Sen. Francis Pangilinan expressed this position as he called on the Supreme Court not to interfere in the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona. In a statement, the Liberal Party member said the rulings of the Senate as an impeachment court cannot be subject to judicial review.

“If the senator-judges err in the conduct of its proceedings, the correction of such error is not by way of judicial review, but by the sovereign will of the people – who can and ought to reject us at the polls if they believe that we committed errors in our judgment as senator-judges,” Pangilinan said.

Pangilinan issued the statement on Thursday, February 9, the same day the Supreme Court holds a special en banc session to tackle petitions seeking to stop the impeachment trial. Corona’s lawyers, the Philippine Savings Bank, and other petitioners asked the high court for a temporary restraining order on the trial.

Pangilinan is a former chairman of the Justice Committee and member of the Judicial and Bar Council, the body that nominates appointees to the judiciary.

“It will also leave a bad taste in the mouth should they interfere because it may be perceived as an attempt of the Supreme Court to rescue the Chief Justice from being accountable to the public,” said Pangilinan.

The senator said should the high tribunal decide to stop the impeachment trial, it will be damaging to the institution.

“The SC’s image will be further tarnished if it prevents the Senate from doing its constitutional duty to try and decide the case against the Chief Justice. A TRO on the subpoena of dollar bank accounts may be perceived as a desperate attempt at shielding the Chief Justice from accountability and a move to suppress the truth.”

On Wednesday, other Aquino allies and LP members also urged the Supreme Court to allow the impeachment trial to proceed. Senators Franklin Drilon and Teofisto Guingona III said only the Senate has the power to try the impeachment case. – Rappler.com 

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