BAGUIO CITY – Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan urged the public to respect the decision of the Supreme Court (SC) in ousting former Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Cereno after majority of the Justices voted in favour of the quo warranto petition that was filed against her.
The local chief executive said that the SC is the final arbiter of the laws of the land and whatever its collective decision will become part of the laws of the country that is why whatever will be the opinion of everyone will remain their own personal opinion since the High Court already made its ruling on the matter.
While it is true that the 1987 Constitution provides that the President, Vice President, the Chief Justice and officers of the constitutional bodies may be removed through impeachment for culpable violation of the Constitution, graft and corruption, bribery, betrayal of public trust and other high crimes, Domogan explained that impeachment is only applicable when the appointment of the Chief Justice is valid from the start.
However, in the case of Cereno, he emphasized that her appointment is not valid from the start because she failed to complete the submission of her Statement of Assets and Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN) which is a major requirement for her being qualified for the position by the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC).
Domogan claimed the appropriate legal remedy in the case is the filing of the petition for quo warrant against her wherein the said petition embodies the fact that Cereno was not actually qualified for the position from the start because she failed to comply with the required submission of her SALNs.
He disclosed that the government is strict in requiring ordinary employees to comply with basic documentary requirements for them to be appointed to positions that is why Cereno should not be exempted from the explicite rule of being required to submit her SALNs prior to her being appointed as the Chief Justice of the SC.
Domogan pointed out that it is high time for everyone to move on because nothing will happen if people continue to be sour grapping on the matter although everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion on the matter.
According to him, the SC ruling on the quo warranto petition should serve as a wakeup call for government officials who have not completed their documentary requirements before the filling up of their positions because they will be prone to be subjected to the quo warranto petition that could result to their ouster from their present positions.
Her asserted the constitutional provision stating the mode of removal of impeachable officers is actually conditional that is why other legal remedies available for the petitioners could be utilized depending on the circumstances of the case.
“The final arbiter of our laws has spoken. We have to respect the decision irregardless of our own personal opinions and positions on the matter. Let us make the decision a part of the country’s rich history for the benefit of the present and future generations of Filipinos. It only shows that the law is harsh but it is still the law which we must adhere to,” Domogan stressed.
By Dexter A. See