Dan­ger signs

Sun.Star Baguio - - OPINION -

Ial­ready pointed this out in a pre­vi­ous col­umn: rail­road­ing an im­peach­ment trial whose pro­ceed­ings are cov­ered live by tra­di­tional me­dia and fol­lowed in so­cial me­dia would be dan­ger­ous for the rail­road­ers.

We al­ready saw that in the im­peach­ment trial of for­mer pres­i­dent Joseph Estrada when the mere non-open­ing of an en­ve­lope led to Estrada’s ouster in what was called Edsa 2 or Peo­ple Power 2. This is prob­a­bly what those strate­giz­ing the moves against Supreme Court Chief Jus­tice Ma. Lour­des Sereno have re­al­ized.

We have seen how the com­mit­tee on jus­tice of the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives did suc­ceed in rak­ing muck against Sereno but failed to show ev­i­dence she com­mit­ted im­peach­able of­fenses. While the com­mit­tee and even the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives can get away with rail­road­ing Sereno’s im­peach­ment, things would be con­sid­er­ably dif­fer­ent dur­ing the trial.

This is prob­a­bly the rea­son why ef­forts have been waged to force Sereno to re­sign be­fore the even­tual im­peach­ment trial could be­gin. While they are pre­par­ing for the trial, they are also putting pres­sure on Sereno to raise the white flag.

Or why would So­lic­i­tor Gen­eral Jose Cal­ida file a quo war­ranto pe­ti­tion with the Supreme Court against Sereno more than five years af­ter her ap­point­ment by then pres­i­dent Noynoy Aquino was ce­mented? The move looks like a long shot but con­sid­er­ing the split among the as­so­ciate jus­tices it was, for the anti-Sereno strate­gists in the Duterte ad­min­is­tra­tion, worth tak­ing.

But will the as­so­ciate jus­tices al­low their per­sonal bi­ases to be ma­nip­u­lated to force Sereno out early? The protest ac­tions launched by some Supreme Court as­so­ciate jus­tices, judges and em­ploy­ees fit snugly into this strat­egy.

It is ob­vi­ous a hand is be­hind the launch­ing of the protest ac­tions na­tion­wide al­though the ef­fort is only mildly suc­ceed­ing. Those call­ing for Sereno’s res­ig­na­tion seems to be a noisy mi­nor­ity in the ju­di­ciary. This early some judges and court em­ploy­ees are call­ing in­stead for “ju­di­cial in­de­pen­dence,” which means not kow­tow­ing to any po­lit­i­cal fac­tion.

In the mean­time, the lead­er­ship of the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives is tak­ing its own sweet time in for­mally rul­ing on Sereno’s im­peach­ment. Us­ing the quo war­ranto pe­ti­tion as rea­son, the House’s im­peach­ment rail­road has mo­men­tar­ily been de­serted. The con­gress­men are ap­par­ently hop­ing Sereno would re­sign be­fore the ar­ti­cles of im­peach­ment could be sent to the Se­nate.

Un­for­tu­nately for them, she is dig­ging in. I think, and I hope I am not wrong on this, only few as­so­ciate jus­tices are blinded by their ha­tred of Sereno, which would mean that the quo war­ranto pe­ti­tion would even­tu­ally be dis­missed.

Mean­while, those res­ig­na­tion calls would go un­heeded. Mean­ing that the im­peach­ment trial is in­evitable. That trial would once again test the fabric of the na­tion. And for the Duterte ad­min­is­tra­tion, it would be a chal­lenge.

While for some­time the Duterte ad­min­is­tra­tion has largely been able to force pub­lic ap­proval, no mat­ter how grudg­ing, of its con­tro­ver­sial de­ci­sions and ac­tions, rail­road­ing Sereno’s im­peach­ment trial would be dif­fer­ent, thus the hes­i­tance to go in that di­rec­tion. In the pro­ceed­ings, the dan­ger signs are ev­ery­where. SSCebu

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