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Sereno’s Supreme Court Influence Weakens in Time for the VP Recount

Supreme Court

welcome By:

Elena Grace Flores

The Supreme Court may have grant VP Leni Robredo’s request to avail of the decrypted ballot soft copies without explanation – but it also has a major pro-Marcos ruling. There seems to have a power struggle within the SC’s en banc. This is very obvious during the impeachment hearing of Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno. Four justices testify against her. Bongbong Marcos’ supporters hope that the LP CJ’s influence finally diminishes within the judiciary as the VP recount is about to happen in February 2018.

Youtube Video by GMA News

[VIDEO]: Justices testify against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno during the impeachment hearing.

2017 Supreme Court Review

There are many controversial issues within the judiciary in 2017. There’s no denying that President Rodrigo Du30’s mandate affects them. The Supreme Court also dealt with relevant issues like the impeachment complaint against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.

Pro-Marcos Ruling

In July, the case of “Ilocos 6,” on the alleged misuse of P66.45 million in tobacco funds to buy vehicles under the watch of Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos, reaches the high tribunal. Also in July, the CA junks the enforcement of the $2-billion award by a US court, in 1995. This is over the estate of the late President Ferdinand Marcos, to the so-called human rights victims during Martial Law.

Strong En Banc Force

Earlier, the court approves with finality its final disposition on the case of Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani or Heroes’ Cemetery. Majority of the magistrates dismiss the petition to exhume his remains.

Recount Hope: Anti-LP – Pro-Bongbong Marcos

Sereno, an LP player, faces an impeachment complaint. The Supreme Court allows the release of all documents against Sereno. They include her Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth, foreign and domestic travels, and bulletproof luxury vehicle, among other pieces of evidence. It grants the plea of lawyer Lorenzo Gadon for their release. Witnesses present from the Supreme Court are Justices Teresita Leonardo-de Castro, Noel Tijam, Francis Jardeleza, and Arturo Brion. Pro-Bongbong Marcos? Perhaps, the SC is just becoming fair.

Controversies hound the judiciary

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Congress Avoids Repeat of Unfair Corona Trial in Line with Bongbong Marcos’ Acquittal Vote


welcome By:

Elena Grace Flores

House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez said that they could go straight to the impeachment court on SC CJ Maria Lourdes Sereno’s case. But he doesn’t  want to do it to avoid repeating the unfair trial of the late Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona. Alvarez wants to hear the case at the Congress first to see if there is evidence or not. This makes sense at the rate it is going. Previously, only the late Senators Joker Arroyo and Miriam Defensor-Santiago, and now VP Protestant Bongbong Marcos acquit Corona. They all agreed that his failure to disclose assets in his SALNs was not an impeachable offense. Marcos explained how he carefully balanced the pros and cons when he decided for Corona’s acquittal. He’s the last man standing among the 3 wise former Senators.

Youtube Video by; tv5theeveningnews

[VIDEO]: This Wasak episode of Bongbong Marcos explains how Bongbong Marcos got his nickname. Then, the relevance of his acquittal vote during the impeachment of the late Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona followed.

Presidential Influence

The impeachment complaint against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno comes 5 years after her predecessor, the late Renato Corona, was removed from office. Both Sereno and Corona have been publicly called out by presidents.Then-president Benigno Aquino III consistently lashed out against Corona, calling his removal as key to achieving transparency and reforms in the judiciary. 

Lack of Evidence Heard in the Congress

Lawyer Larry Gadon was grilled by not having evidence for Sereno’s manipulative acts at the SC and extravagance on spending. Those were no big deals. The “strongest” argument for impeachment facing Sereno is the allegation of untruthful declaration in her Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN). She has, however, consistently denied these accusations. However, Corona got convicted despite the unclear proofs.

Du30’s Challenge

President Rodrigo Du30 asks Sereno many times to resign. The impeachment complaint filed against her is allegedly supported by him. He previously said he will not meddle with the process. Du30 challenged both Sereno and Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales to resign together with him due to the corruption allegations they all face.

Meaning of Marcos’ Nickname Realized

Bongbong Marcos always sticks with his father when he was little. He was like the bamboo water container called “bongbong.” The older Marcos often carries it when he was a soldier during World War II. Nowadays, the younger Marcos connects with the President regularly.  They are together during relevant functions. He is like the Filipino leader’s sustenance when he runs out of patience while leading the country amidst local and international destructions.  Many believe of the Du30-Marcos tandem to lead the country to progress.

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Sereno on no warrant, no surrender: Duterte endangered the lives of the six judges


welcome By: Elena Grace Flores
Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno has cautioned the judges included in the list of President Rodrigo Duterte as protector of the illegal drugs trade not to surrender to any law enforcer without a warrant of arrest.

In her letter to Duterte, she was asking for the source and basis of the allegation against the seven judges. She stated; “We abhor its ability to even destroy public institutions, thus our proactive investigation of any report that judges and court personnel abet drug trade,”. However, “a premature announcement of an informal investigation on allegation of involvement with the drug trade will have the unwarranted effect of rendering the judge veritably useless in discharging his adjudicative role.”
“Thus, this Court has been careful, all too aware that more often than not, a good reputation is the primary badge of credibility and the only legacy that many of our judges can leave behind,” she added.

“Our judges may have been rendered vulnerable and veritable targets for any of those persons and groups who may consider judges as acceptable collateral damage in the ‘war on drugs,’”; reiterated Sereno.

Sereno cannot be blamed on her actions because many judges have been assassinated since 1999, with most cases of whom was upon the alleged orders of crime lords. This is a very brave stunt from the Chief Justice which can only be dealt with by the toughness of the president’s tongue.

Sereno’s response to the list: Judge Lorenda Mupas was dismissed in 2007 as Municipal Trial Court Judge of Dasmariñas, Cavite for gross ignorance of the law. “We request that her dishonorable discharge be duly considered and that she be not referred to as part of the judiciary as of nine years ago,” Sereno said. Judge Roberto Navidad, formerly of the Calbayog City, Samar Regional Trial Court was killed on Jan. 14, 2008 at age 69. Judge Rene Gonzales, formerly of the Municipal Trial Court in Cities (MTCC) Branch 7, Iloilo City compulsorily retired last June 20, 2016.
Judge Exequil Dagala of the MTC, Dapa-Socorro, Surigao, does not have jurisdiction over drugs cases, the same way that Judge Gonzales does not. “It would be very helpful if the investigators who included the names of Judges Dagala and Gonzales inform the Court how these MTC judges can be considered as influencing the drug trade,” Sereno said. Judge Adriano Savillo, RTC, Branch 30, Iloilo City is a family court judge who does not have jurisdiction over drugs cases except in cases where a minor is a respondent. Judge Domingo Casiple, RTC, Branch 7, Kalibo, Aklan is the judge of a court of general jurisdiction without jurisdiction over drugs cases, that is, until our recent decision to make all RTCs as drugs courts is implemented with the appropriate administrative circular.
“It would be helpful to know the specifics on how judges without jurisdiction over drugs cases influence the drug trade in their localities,” Sereno said. Judge Antonio Reyes, RTC, Branch 61, Baguio City, Benguet presides over the designated drugs court in that multi-sala court.

Despite being caught off guard, Chief Justice Sereno has acted according to the law, following due process. Can Duterte do the same?


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Duterte Pressure takes a toll on SC’s Sereno

welcome By: Elena Grace Flores
Supreme Court’s Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno’s palpitation and stress-related condition caused her to refrain from working and go to have medical check ups instead. This has been observed from her “absentism” record and excuses while not reporting to work as published by Manila Times.

Aside from the nearing take over of President-elect Rodrigo Duterte, as an Aquino appointee, she rarely made friends in the Supreme Court – given that she was not the most senior to replace CJ Corona.

Despite the constitutional mandate and criticisms from certified lawyers of country, she sided with Grace Poe’s position not to be disqualified over her residency and citizenship status. Now that Poe did not make it to the presidency and not even second choice, Sereno is left worrying for the next 14 years on whether she’s staying or not.