Who has the ‘final say’?

/ 05:16 AM April 13, 2018

Legal luminaries keep hammering on the nonsense that any move to oust a sitting justice of the high court outside of the constitutionally mandated impeachment proceedings through Congress is unconstitutional. The pending quo warranto action to oust Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno through the Supreme Court itself, whose supermajority hate her guts and want her kicked out, is a blatant defiance of the Constitution.

Of course, those lawyers have forgotten that only the Supreme Court has the final say on what is constitutional or not. It interprets the fundamental law any which way it wants, and the hell with
its plain language even if it requires no explanation or interpretation.


To illustrate: The Constitution plainly says cases pending in courts should be decided within fixed periods of time. This was meant to address
the constant complaint of citizens about the long delays in the delivery of justice. The Supreme Court itself is mandated to decide its own cases within two years only.

And to implement that mandate, the Supreme Court imposed disciplinary sanctions against lower court magistrates for noncompliance.


But as far as its own members were concerned, the Supreme Court simply interpreted that mandate to mean merely a “suggestion.” From that self-serving dictum, there is no more appeal.

Thus, if the present majority of the Supreme Court say there is nothing in the Constitution that prohibits the use of quo warranto proceedings to oust an impeachable official, that’s it. Sereno is dead meat. All she can do, perhaps, is appeal to God who, as she kept saying,
put her there.

With President Duterte mincing no words in calling Sereno his “enemy” to be rid of fast—and a Supreme Court ready, willing and able to do the dirty job—can God save her? Or has she simply used the name of the Lord in vain?

ROGELIO S. CANDELARIO, [email protected]

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TAGS: Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, impeachment proceedings
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