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MANILA, Philippines – President Benigno Aquino III’s vow to push the impeachment of other “erring” Supreme Court associate justices may have a chilling effect on the high court since it was made amid an “emotionally charged” situation, Sen. Miriam Santiago cautioned on Sunday, Dec. 25, 2011.
“Technically, President Aquino is correct. (But) under this emotionally charged situation, it would strike fear in the hearts of those concerned,” she said in an interview on dzBB radio.
She was referring to Aquino’s television interview last weekend where he said he would not hesitate to go after the high court’s associate justices if they commit impeachable offenses. In a GMA TV news interview aired late Friday, Aquino was asked if he would also move against the other justices appointed by former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo if the decisions of the Supreme Court continued to go against the administration.
“If they have violations of the Constitution, if there is an impeachable offense,” he replied.
Chief Justice Renato Corona is expected to submit his reply on Monday, Dec. 26, to the impeachment complaint filed against him by the House of Representatives.
The Senate resumes session on Jan. 15, 2012, where it is expected to finalize preparations for the trial of the Chief Justice, the first in Philippine history.
But two petitions — by one Danilo Lihaylihay and lawyer Alarique Cabigao — were lodged with the High Tribunal asking the justices to stop the trial.
Lawyer Vladimir Alarique Cabigao sought the issuance of a temporary restraining order to stop the Senate from sitting as an impeachment court, saying the House of Representatives had exercised its power to initiate impeachment with grave abuse of discretion. Cabigao noted that most lawmakers who signed the complaint did not even read it.
The lady senator said in her radio interview that she finds this odd.
“Parang mahirap gawin yan dahil kung ganun pala… all they have to do is ask their colleagues in the Supreme Court to issue a TRO against the Senate and against the Lower House (It could be a difficult situation, where all an associate justice has to do is ask their colleagues in the high court to issue a TRO against the Senate and House of Representatives),” she said. – Rappler.com