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Bawi-bawi lang: Villarin to file impeachment raps vs 8 SC justices

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Akbayan party-list Rep. Tom Villarin has announced his plan to file impeachment complaints against the eight Supreme Court magistrates who voted to remove Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.

Villarin said the eight justices committed culpable violation of the Constitution for supposedly arrogating upon themselves the sole authority of Congress to remove impeachable officials through impeachment.

“I think the next proper and logical move is to file an impeachment complaint against the eight justices for culpable violation of the Constitution. We think that these eight justices have a very unconstitutional decision by usurping the powers of Congress over an impeachable official,” the politiko said.

“It is clearly stated in our Constitution that you can only remove a sitting justice through an impeachment proceeding and Congress has started an impeachment proceeding,” he added.

Supreme Court justices who voted for the grant of the quo warranto petition against Sereno were Justices Teresita Leonardo-De Castro, Diosdado Peralta, Lucas Bersamin, Francis Jardeleza, Samuel Martires, Noel Tijam, Andres Reyes Jr. and Alexander Gesmundo.

“I believe that Congress, especially the House, would do its constitutional duty of protecting our Constitution, the Congress being the sole institution in which an impeachment complaint will be filed and heard,” said Villarin.

He is also optimistic that his fellow lawmakers in the Magnificent 7 opposition bloc, civil society groups, lawyers groups and people from the private sector will support the complaints which he plans to file before Congress goes on a sine die break this June.

Meanwhile, members of the progressive Makabayan bloc are also considering filing impeachment complaints against the eight magistrates.

“Pinag-aaralan ng Makabayan bloc [yan]. Malinaw naman ang aming tindig sa nakaraan,” Bayan Muna party-list Representative Carlos Zarate said.

“Nilabanan namin ang impeachment ni Chief Justice Sereno, maging yung usapin sa quo warranto proceedings dahil sa tingin namin, talagang atake sa hudikatura at pag-castrate yun sa power ng Congress to impeach and give evidence so warrant to convict an impeachable official,” he added.