• Grace Poe must prove her case for recusal of justices

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    Second of two parts

    Not content with the already declared intent of Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio and Justices Teresita Leonardo-de Castro and Arturo Brion to recuse themselves from the SC hearing on the SET decision, Senator Grace Poe-Llamanzares is going for a homerun.

    She wants the three justices disqualified from all her disqualification cases before the high court—the decision of the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET) and the two decisions by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to nullify her candidacy.

    Just as she was not content with being a mere senator of the republic and went for broke by bidding for the highest office of the land, Ms. Poe is now bent on bending the Supreme Court to her will.

    Just before the turn of the years, Senator Poe filed a motion before the SC on December 29, seeking the recusal of the 3 associate justices who voted against her in the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET).

    Using the Justices’ dissent against them Ms. Poe used their votes in the SET ruling as her ground for moving for their recusal or disqualification in her other disqualification cases.

    Her motion states:
    “Justices Carpio, De Castro and Brion have already prejudged petitioner on the issue of her citizenship and therefore ought to inhibit.”

    Ironically, until this ambitious bid for a homerun, it was considered likely that the three justices would voluntarily recuse themselves from the SC review of the SET ruling.

    A terrible miscalculation
    In moving to disqualify the three justices from all her cases, Senator Poe is gambling that with these justices out of the way, she will have (1) a better chance of keeping her seat in the Senate; and (2) a fair chance of keeping her presidential candidacy alive.

    This is a terrible miscalculation on her part. It practically guarantees now that Justices Carpio, De Castro, and Brion will keenly take part in the SC hearings of her Comelec cases. Recusal is an individual decision – a matter of conscience – for the justices concerned.

    It highlights Ms. Poe’s burden of proving her grounds for disqualification, which are required under the New Code of Judicial Conduct, which was promulgated by the Supreme Court in 2004.

    It could lead to a reversal of the three justices’ plan to recuse themselves from the SET case.

    Petitioners can also file a motion, stating that their recusal would result in “a denial of their constitutional right to have a question, properly presented to the court, adjudicated.”

    Specific grounds of disqualification
    The provisions for the recusal of judges, including justices, under the new code of Judicial Conduct are contained in the canon on impartiality.

    The specific grounds for disqualification are enumerated in Section 5 of the Canon, to wit:

    “Section 5: Judges shall disqualify themselves from participating in any proceedings in which they are unable to decide the matter impartially or in which it may appear to a reasonable observer that they are unable to decide the matter impartially. Such proceedings include instances where:

    (a) The judge has actual bias or prejudice concerning a party or personal knowledge of disputed evidentiary facts concerning the proceedings;

    In People vs. Gomez, the Supreme Court held that “The mere imputation of bias or partiality is not sufficient for a judge to inhibit, especially when the charge is without basis. It must be proven with clear and convincing evidence.”

    (b) The judge previously served as a lawyer or was a material witness in the matter in controversy.

    (c) The judge or a member of his or her family, has an economic interest in the outcome of the matter in controversy.

    (d) The judge served as executor, administrator, guardian, trustee or lawyer in the case or matter in controversy.

    (e) The judge’s ruling in a lower court is the subject of review;

    (f) The judge is related by consanguinity or affinity to a party litigant within the sixth civil degree or to counsel within the fourth civil degree.

    The duty to sit
    SECTION 3 of the canon provides that judges shall, so far as is reasonable, so conduct themselves as to minimize the occasions on which it will be necessary for them to be disqualified from hearing or deciding cases. Judges may, in their exercise of sound discretion, restrict themselves voluntarily from sitting in a case, but such a decision should be based on good, sound or ethical grounds, or for just and valid reasons. It is not enough that a party casts some tenuous allegations of partiality at the judge. Thus, it is imperative that judges ensure that they would not be unnecessarily disqualified from a case. This is sometimes referred to as the “duty to sit.”

    In Parayno vs. Meneses, the Supreme Court explained the nature of the voluntary inhibition expected of a judge: “The majority view is that the rule of disqualification of judges must yield to demands of necessity. Actual disqualification of a member of a court of last resort will not excuse the member from performing his official duty if failure to do so would result in a denial of a litigant’s constitutional right to have a question, properly presented to the court, adjudicated.”

    The mere imputation of bias or partiality is not sufficient for a judge to inhibit, especially when the charge is without basis. It must be proven with clear and convincing evidence.

    Clear and convincing evidence
    This is where Grace Poe now finds herself. To make her case for recusal of the three justices, she must prove with clear and convincing evidence her charge of bias and partiality against the justices.

    Their dissenting votes in the SET ruling do not qualify as clear and convincing evidence. Indeed, they prove the contrary – that the nation needs them to do their duty, by joining the entire Supreme Court in settling with finality her eligibility to run for president.

    US policy and practice on recusal
    If the rules seem tough on Grace Poe the foundling, consider the recusal standards and practices of her former country, the United States.

    In a comprehensive paper, “Recusal and the Supreme Court,” Debra Bassett lists down the key characteristics of the US Supreme Court’s approach to the recusal of justices:

    1. Some supreme court justices have adamantly refused to recuse themselves in controversial cases

    2. Recusal motions are uncommon in the Supreme

    Court; indeed, the Court appears to effectively discourage such motions from parties appearing before the Court.

    3. Short of a constitutional due process violation, recusal should remain where it essentially is now—resting with the conscience of each individual justice.

    3. Recusal or disqualification can play no more than a limited role in improving the quality of court decisions. The way to get good decisions is to enact good laws, to appoint good judges, and to provide effective access to courts, fair procedures, and meaningful appellate review.

    4. It is in the country’s best interests to have all nine Justices participating in the Court’s cases rather than insisting on a strict recusal standard that would prevent a Justice’s participation for less than truly compelling reasons.

    Justices will not recuse
    As I was finalizing part 2 of this series, I took an early look at yesterday’s edition of the Times.

    Lo and behold it carried as its headline the news that the three justices, Carpio, De Castro and Brion, will stay put on Poe’s disqualification cases.

    Written by Senior Reporter Jomar Canlas, the news reports that the three justices are standing their ground and will participate in the hearings.

    The justices maintained that Poe’s disqualification case will be decided by the high court based on its merits and that the three justices will participate, deliberate and vote on the issue.

    There will be no homerun for Grace Poe.

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    26 Comments

    1. mikhail hieronymus on

      This woman, Grace Lllamezares is without shame. She is using a lot of public fund for her ambition. She is using the Court to disregard the Constitution. She is NOT contented to be a senator. She desired to be the President.

      The Comelec has DQ her already, but she would not listen. Instead she took her case to the SC. Now she want the three judges to recluse themselves in the deliberation of her case. Boy.. this woman wants everything her way. All of these cases in Court is costing the government some good money that could be use for other purposes.

      She is so ambitious that is only exceeded by her disregard of other’s people right. If she claimed that as a foundling, she is being denied of her right, how come she want to deny the three justices their right to do their job as judges. She really want to turn everything upside down for her own benefit. I wonder what she will do if she were elected president. I hope she lost her case at the SC. Goodbye Grace! Get Lost!

    2. Odnalor Obirt on

      I am not voting for Grace Poe but I don’t her to be disqualified for the 2016 Presidential Candidates. My only desire is not to win Mar Roxas who promised to continue what Pnoy Aquino started. The current administration of Pnoy Aquino is the WORST in the history of the Philippines. Only in the Philippines and nowhere in the world has a president who is a traitor of his own soldiers and policemen. My hope is to have the next president to have the nerve to prosecute and put to death row those traitors like Miriam Colonel Ferrer and Datucan Abbas alyas Monaguer Iqbal.

    3. Grace is now in a corner and would prefer to be disqualified by the high court to prove to her backers and financiers that she did not take advantage of the people. They have invested on her so much that backing out will have to mean that she has to return all the monetary support she accepted. I don’t think she has a choice cause pretty sure they were already spent . Lots of law suits for Grace if she looses. Misrepresentation !

      • Ms Grace Poe has other character that the voters haven’t highlighted its ultimate differential if ever she come into power. G Poe is being pushed around and used by her backers and supporters to be their puppet so that these usurpers, antagonists and pseudo-nationalists (most of them have the shade of oligarchs/foreign blood) can advance their self interest.

        They used the high-profile Lawyer and even convinced a former Supreme Court Justice to twist the essence of the rule of law through mere statement to antagonized the public thus shows the demonic and self interest motive of Poe’s supporters.

        I’m so proud to say that the current Justices of the Supreme Court exercised their solemn duty, their latest action, as the protector of the citizens of the republic in case of the ramming of the rule of law by the few together with the unqualified candidate, so that the Justice to the Majority will be over the minority with a self-interest ulterior motive.

    4. I thought it is a slap on the faces of the Comelec commissioners who disqualified Mrs. Llamanzares when she appealed to the Supreme Court for finality.

    5. Grace Poe had already abused our judicial system at the expense of the taxpayer. If she’s so special to be able to avail of the benefits of our laws and procedures, then shouldn’t an ordinary citizen be accorded the same treatment. Meaning, If PAG-IBIG rejects my application for a housing loan due to lack of requirements, can I also bring it up to the Supreme Court, in the same manner that Miss Poe brought up her electoral deficiencies. Sounds impractical right.

    6. Brandogandanghari on

      Grace is definitely a Filipino, a natural born Filipino foundling. Only a crazy foreigner will leave their newborn in a foreign land, when in fact foreigners come here in the Philippines to marry their forever or not so forever just to have a precious child of their own. Regarding her residency status lacking few months, it’s a small thing. It could be rounded up to the higher level para walang butal. Nevertheless, Grace is 100% Pinay (sana totoo ang chismis na anak sya ni Marcos para maipatupad ang last will ni Marcos na naitelevised noong 1973 na lahat ng worldly possessions nya ay magamit sa kabutihan ng mga Pilipino. But if u r not convinced, please vote for other presidentiables EXCEPT PNOY2.0 ROXAS. But I recommend MDS -BBM TANDEM.

    7. As of this writing, I have not yet decided whom I will entrust my vote come May 2016. I fear that I might not arrive at any decision at all compared to the past electoral exercises. But choosing who the next LEADER of the Republic would be I am really having a hard time. So much is at stake, particularly the FUTURE not anymore for myself but for my children and the succeeding generation yet to come. Question is – is there is still such a future for the motherland?

      Whoever would be gifted as the next leader BY AND THROUGH ANY MEANS would face the inherent impossibility of undoing and unmaking years of decadence until and unless, hopefully, the ROTTEN SYSTEM OF ELITE AND PATRONAGE POLITICS would be permanently erased.

      So much premium debate has been waged since time immemorial by those in the know and those pretending to be in the know that this and that is the best antidote for the ills of the country. Yet there are many concern and issues that needs CLOSURE. In fact, the country needs to reboot as there are significant malwares and viruses that needs to be taken out so that the country could function, normally!

      As a people we are fond of decapitating people whom we blamed for our woes and foibles, knowing fully and intelligently well that WE AS A PEOPLE CHOSE THE VERY OWN ROTTEN SYSTEM THAT BREEDS AND NURTURED THOSE VERY PEOPLE WE DESPISED AND BLAMED.

      I suggest that we confront and address the chicken and egg merry go round first before tackling election related issues that is so exhausting.

    8. Guillermo Hernandez on

      Ha……ha…….ha……ha. ! ! !

      What a country …….

      Their Constitution is being trampled by an American ? ( or wherever she came from )
      and the whole country is joining her in this charade. What is wrong with the Filipino people….all you have to do is completely IGNORE this non-person and the spectacle that she is creating together with her oligarch cahoots.

      People ….go on with your daily business and forget about this non-entity !

    9. Sana paboran si Grace Poe ng Supreme Court. Sapagkat qualified naman talaga siya na tumakbo bilang Presidente ng ating bansa. Na meet niya ang lahat ng requirements sa pagtakbo bilang Presidente.

    10. Carlos de Castro on

      With the SC deciding against the two candidate who used their US passport after renouncing their US citicenship and to be able to save some grace, Grace LLamanzares should w/draw fr. the candidacy. She is very sure of winning the election upon advised fr,Susan Roces(who is seeking revenge from FPJ debacle)and Chiz Escudero , if by chance both win will file his own DQ so he will be president.Tell rGrace that she is not a sure winner. We Fil;ipinos here in the US believe that she can not do anything to solve the problem, because w/out a POE in her name , she is just a bank cleck here in the US.

    11. We’re all confident that the Supreme Court will uphold the SET decision and reverse the COMELEC decision. Alam naman natin na Natural-born Filipino Citizen talaga si Grace Poe. Dahil sa ating 1935 Constitution na ang foundling ay Natural-born Citizen kung saan siyang bansa nakita o pinanganak. Qualified talaga si Grace Poe na tumakbo sa pagkaPresidente.

    12. Eddie de Leon on

      We want change from rhis rotten Aquino regim, the worst we ever had in our dear Philippines. But even if Grace Poe were a saint, like Blessed Mother Teresa, she must be eligible for the presidency. Other wise let’s just put great and good names on our Philippine ballot, like Mike Huckabee, or Dr. Carson, or the Democrats’ Sanders, who are better people than any of those running in the Philippines!

    13. Capt Rick Bernabe,USAF on

      kung ang pagbabasihan ay ang pagiging patas para sa taong bayan,ang pagtapak ni poe sa batas at pang aaboso sa taong bayan ay hindi masusukat ang kasakiman no grace poe sa pera nang taong bayan. at ang inpluensiya na kitang kita mo nang gagamitin ni poe sa pagtapak sa mga karapatan nang taong bayan. at dapat talaga ay bumalik si poe at mag-aral pa para malaman niya ang tama at mali sa batas. POE IS USING EMOTIONAL APPEAL TO THE NTH DEGREE. HER ABUSIVE PERSONA TO STEP ON THE R.P. Constitution and the filipinos goes far beyond arrogance and personal greed. Greed for power and money are both the bottomline/s plus many more. nakakahiya ang mga pa epal ni poe. sa asunto nang pagka senadora niya ay punishable at least six years in prison for outright fraud and misdeclaration at will. . I for one does not think she will have or will gain any traction on her case…for the pure and simple reason that she committed crime and continue to insist her own interpretation of unlawful justice whose only beneficiary is her arrogance. people cannot call or brand her stupid and a moron because her actions of arrogance goes pver and beyond these two words. she should quit. for her to put the capability,sincerity,and honesty of these three judges is unbelievable and to impune their character by her slant/and tangential accusations are beyond anyones capacity to decipher. she s so pa epal and arrogant…dapat siyang makulong at matangal sa kanyang pagka-senadora na nkuha niya sa pagbubulaan under oath.

    14. I am just wondering if the lawyers that gives advises to Mrs. Llamanzares knows the Constitution.On the other hand, I think when Mrs. Llamanzares won the senatorial election and was sworn into office, she swore to “uphold the Constitution.” Now, her camp would like to set aside the Constitution to satisfy her ambitions. What kind of mentality and attitude we can get out of this ambitious person that even the basic law of the land, she would like to be disregarded and disrespected. And for her lawyer advisers, they should be disbarred for disrespecting the Constitution. Shame on you for seeing the peso signs instead of the real context of the law.

      • Leodegardo Pruna on

        You said it rightly. The disgraced GRACE camp is contradicting itself and therefore doesn’t merit any attention from the electorate. GRACE is being used by SUSAN in getting back at her perceived enemies particularly GMA. Susan will not be losing anything. What a sorry state we are in. God bless the Philippines.

      • laguatanlawzen.com on

        Grace P. Llamanzares is ill-advised. I feel her lawyer and other advisers knows the law and other SC decisions applicable to the Llamanzares DQ case. If she has the nerve to fool the Filipino voters, how in the world can she become a good President? The lawyer of Llamanzares is only after for money even if they know there is no way they will win their DQ case before the SC even if the three illustrious SC justices will recuse themselves in the deliberation. Now, did anyone wonder why Grace had been avoiding using Llamanzares and instead keep on using POE? Because Neil Llamanzares, Grace husband, is an American citizen including her two children. I think
        she feels it awkward to use her husband’s the family name. .

    15. Julian Aguila on

      Grace Llamanzares is OVER-REACHING on everything. Pati Supreme Court ino-over-reach niya at sinasabihan kung ano ang gagawin. Sobra na Tama na

      • Capt Rick Bernabe,USAF on

        ang constitution ay hindi isang bagay na anybody can change at the whims of one’s capriciousness and arrogance. only an act of congress can change it. if there is a relevant question/s or imperfection on the statutes concerned……only the supreme court can interpret if it need to be change and then congress can and will vote and enact the corrective measure/s to remedy the law,both approved,voted by both lower and upper houses,have to be veto proof and then signed by the executive branch. that is the real remedy. poe and her supporters are dreaming with open eyes beyond the clear sunlight if they they think other wise. and maybe needing to clear their distorted perspective.

    16. peterpanio16@gmail.com on

      For me Senator Grace Poe not deserve to disqualify in the election because she met all the requirements and she willing to serve to our country with heart.

      • Cesar Camua Martin on

        The only requirement met by your Ms. P. Lamanzares is her desire to be president of the country she abandoned and she’s all out and willing to serve the interest of her backers, the greedy oligarchs with all her AMERICAN heart.

      • laguatanlawzen.com on

        My goodness you are showing your idiocy of the highest degree to the whole world. The grammatical construction of your sentences are as crooked as your fingers. Where in the hell did you get your idea that Grace P. Llamanzares doesn’t deserve to be disqualified?

    17. Annie Marasigan on

      1. Isa sa pinakamahirap na parte ng buhay ay yung kailangan mong patunayan ang isang bagay na hindi naman kailangan ng patunay…

      Gaya ng sitwasyon ngayon ni Sen. Grace Poe, isang foundling na walang pag-aalinlangan na inalay ang sarili para sa bayan; isang foundling na minsang nangarap ng matayog na maiahon ang Pilipinas sa anim na taong panunungkulan; foundling na iniwan, nakatagpo ng mga taong mag mamahal ngunit dahil may layuning mabuti sa Pilipinas kinailangan nyang balikan ang nakaraan, hanapin ang mga nang-iwan upang patunayan ang isang bagay na noong una’y hindi naman kinailangan…

      Kapag tama ang pinaglalaban mo, pipilitin kang hamunin ng mundo. Kapag totoo ang sinasabi mo, gagawin nilang iba yung kwento. Hindi tayo natututo sa maraming beses na maling desisyon. At ngayon na may taong gustong manindigan para sa bayan, nagsasabing walang maiiwan, mas mabilis siyang hinuhusgahan kaysa bigyan ng pagkakataong ipakita ang sinasabing kaunlaran na sa pamumuno nya ay mararanasan.

      Gusto ko ng pagbabago. PAGBABAGONG INKLUSIBO SA PAMUMUNO NI SENATOR GRACE POE! Nawa’y bigyan sya ng patas na laban at payagang kumandidato sa pagka-PANGULO.

      • anong pagbabago? Ipagpapatuloy lang naman nya ang sinimulan ng tatay nya. Ang mag artista.
        anong ginawa nya sa Mamasapano invistigation?

    18. Do you think the remaining SC know something better than 3 SC who participated in SET disqualification case of Grace Poe? Look at the voting pattern of pattern of COMELEC commissioners who happen to be veteran lawyers they also disqualified Grace Poe. It is a battle against all odds for Grace Poe. To loose 4 successive cases in the Comelec and win by political slim vote in the SET for Grace Poe outcome in the SC can be easily predicted.

    19. The best move for Poe is to make a poll of the justices to find out who is ‘for’ and ‘against’. Then, ask the recusal or disqualification of those who are against her cause.

      What a waste of time and resources that this case has gone this far! Rules should be amended to give other judicial and quasi-judicial bodies the final authority to decide, with finality, cases brought or appealed within their jurisdictions. As it is, the Supreme Court is ‘burdened’ with almost every case to make the final decisions, dragging the decision of cases to months and even years. Of course, unless there is a glaring abuse of discretion.

      She fooled the people.once and wants to fool them again. Too much! How qualified is she that she thinks she is the one to beat, qualification wise? Her U.S. training must have gone to her head that she thinks she tops all others, which mentality is “trash”.

      May God bless he Philippines’ may God bless the Filipinos!