TWO senators refused to sign a draft resolution urging the Supreme Court to review its decision ousting Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.
Senate Majority Leader Tito Sotto said he would “not support any resolution to that effect because I don’t want to interfere with the judiciary.”
However, if a majority of senators signed the resolution, Sotto said, “we have to pass it on the floor and debate it on the floor.”
“So whether it’s 17 18 or 1 signature, it has the same value when it comes to the floor. It has value lang for media mileage pero as far as the Senate plenary is concern, you have to pass it in the plenary,” he added.
Senator Manny Pacquiao stressed he did not sign the resolution out of respect the Supreme Court decision that ousted Sereno.
“Para namang pag pinirmahan mo parang di mo binibigyang honor ang decision ng SC,” he said.
At least eight senators, mostly opposition members, have so far signed the draft resolution.
Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto and Senator Joel Villanueva, who are part of the majority bloc in the Senate, have confirmed in separate text messages signing the resolution.
“Yes, I did,” Recto said in a text message.
Villanueva said he signed the resolution to “affirm” his position that the Constitution was unequivocal that the only way to remove the Chief Justice is through impeachment proceedings.
The SC, voting 8-6 last Friday, ousted Sereno by granting the quo warranto petition filed against her by Solicitor General Jose Calida.
“The removal of the Chief Justice is the biggest test to the foundations of our nation, to date. We only enjoy stability because our democracy is sustained by the mandate of our Constitution,” Villanueva said in a statement shortly after the SC ruling.
“Our fundamental law provides a singular route to remove certain public officials: Impeachment,” he added as he urged the House of Representatives to transmit to the Senate the articles of impeachment against Sereno.
“We should respect the Constitution and the rule of law,” Villanueva stressed.
All six opposition senators signed the draft resolution. The six are Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, Senators Kiko Pangilinan, Bam Aquino, Risa Hontiveros, Antonio Trillanes IV and Leila de Lima who has been jailed at Camp Crame in Quezon City over drug-related charges.
Regardless of the number of signatures, Drilon said, the resolution must be filed, debated and voted in the plenary.
“If we have the majority signatures, good. If not, let’s file it, put it on the calendar, debate and vote on it,’” the Minority Leader said expecting 14 senators to support it.