THE impeachment lawyers of Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno objected to a proposal for President Rodrigo Duterte to sit as prosecutor, even in a “special” capacity.
This was the statement made by lawyer Josalee Deinla who said that the 1987 Constitution made clear prohibitions against a sitting president to practice his professional career.
While the president is a lawyer, Deinla said that the Constitution barred Duterte from practicing law.
She pointed out that under the existing separation of powers of the Constitution, the head of the judiciary must not be tried by the head of the executive department, who happened to be Duterte.
Deinla also said that there was no need for Chief Justice Sereno to sign a waiver for her bank accounts because this was contained in her SALN (Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Networth).
“Hindi na kailangan pumirma ng waiver ang ating Chief Justice dahil nasa SALN form naman po ang mga ito,” she said.
Another Sereno lawyer, Winnie Salumbides, on the other hand, said that Duterte was known for his unorthodox thinking and has many strategies in mind in pushing for Sereno’s impeachment.
Sereno is accused of betrayal of public trust and culpable violation of the Constitution for allegedly granting allowances and other perks to herself and her staff in foreign trips abroad; preventing lower court justices from issuing warrants of arrest against Senator Leila de Lima on drug related charges; and acquiring a P9 million bulletproof luxury car, among others.
The justice committee of the House of Representatives recently found “sufficient grounds” to impeach Sereno.