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President irked, now wants Congress to fasttrack impeachment process

By ALFRED GABOT | Editor in Chief


Photo: Rappler


DAVAO CITY/BAGUIO CITY – Angered by Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno’s challenge to him to explain to the people his role in the bid to remove her in the Supreme Court,  President Rodrigo Duterte, who had earlier declared he had not meddled in the case, now declared her an "enemy" and wants her out in the high court, adding she does not deserve to be there.


Following his speech, the High Tribunal held its session in Baguio City and held the oral arguments on the quo warranto petition filed against Sereno. Before proceeding with the arguments, the tribunal rebuffed Sereno when her petition to inhibit five Associate Justices in the case was thrown out by the court, giving way to the arguments attended by Sereno and her lawyers.


Specifically, Sereno, in a speech on April 9 during a Day of Valor (Araw ng Kagitingan) event, dared Mr. Duterte to explain why the government's lawyer, Solicitor General Jose Calida, was seeking the invalidation of her appointment through a quo warranto petition filed before the Supreme Court.

Sereno said: “Mr. President, if you have no hand in this, why did Solicitor General Jose Calida, who reports to you, file the quo warranto?”


“Surely, you must explain this unconstitutional act,” Sereno told a gathering in Quezon City organized by the Movement Against Tyranny.


Sereno hinted that there was an “unseen hand” pushing for her impeachment.


“Hindi po maitatangging may kamay na gumagalaw dito. (It cannot be denied that there is a hand moving behind the scenes),” she said.


The chief justice also branded Calida’s efforts to support the impeachment case against her as “the height of its absurdity” as the solicitor general was trying to gather 30-year-old records.


She quipped that the solicitor general should also look for her high school records.


Sereno, insisting that she could be removed only through an impeachment proceeding and not through the quo warranto case, stood firm she would not resign and that she was ready for the Senate impeachment trial.


At a press conference after making his departure speech for the Boao Forum in Hainan, China, Duterte also instructed the House of Representatives, where he holds a supermajority of allies, to "fast track" Sereno's impeachment even as the Supreme Court was yet to decide on the quo warranto seeking her ouster.


"Ikaw Sereno, sinabi ko na sa 'yo, hindi ako nakialam. If you are insisting, count me in. Count me in and I will egg Calida to do his best. Ako na mismo maglakad, magkalaban sa ’yo. Sinabi ko na sa'yong hindi ako nakikialam," the angry Duterte said.


"Sige ka diyan, daldal nang daldal, sige, upakan kita. I will help any investigator, talagang upakan kita. I am putting you on notice na. I am now your enemy and you have to be out of the Supreme Court. I will see to it then after that I will request the Congress, go into the impeachment right away," he said.


Duterte said the Supreme Court can hear the quo warranto petition "simultaneously" with Congress' hearing on the impeachment.


"I’d like to ask Speaker [Pantaleon] Alvarez now, kindly fast track the impeachment of Sereno. She is bad for the Philippines," he said.


"I am asking Congress, what is taking you so long? Do not create any crisis in this country. I will not hesitate to do what is to the best interest of my country. If it calls for your forced removal, I will do it," he said.


Duterte said a simple public school teacher could get fired if she does not file her SALN, yet Sereno, who earned attorney's fees for working as government counsel, did not submit hers.


"What is this special treatment? I’ll go to jail with her; diyan ako sa gitna ng selda ko—dito si De Lima at doon siya," he said, referring to Senator Leila De Lima, who has been detained on drug charges for more than a year.


Sereno in a speech earlier on Monday, April 9, said the President should explain why SolGene Calida filed a "quo warranto" petition before the Supreme Court to invalidate her appointment.


Sereno was appointed chief justice by Duterte’s predecessor, Benigno Aquino 3rd, in 2012 after the impeachment trial that unseated the late Chief Justice Renato Corona.


Sereno, the youngest to be appointed chief justice, was forced by her colleagues to go on indefinite leave in March amid her impeachment woes.


In his petition, Calida asked Sereno's colleagues to invalidate her appointment, citing her supposed failure to submit her statements of assets, liabilities, and net worth to the Judicial and Bar Council when they were screening applicants for the Chief Justice post in 2012.


Calida explained before the High Court that he acted on his own in filing the petition and never got any instruction from Mr. Duterte or any other high ranking official.


Calida also insisted that Sereno can be removed through the quo warranto proceedings, independent of the impeachment complaint filed against the Chief Justice.


Following Duterte’s instruction, Rep. Reynaldo Umali, chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Justice which acted on the impeachment complaint filed by lawyer Lorenzo Gadon, said that the House will act on the case when it resumes its session in May.


Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, at the same time, assured its approval and sending its complaint the Senate, acting as Impeachment Tribunal.


The impeachment complaint accuses Sereno of 11 acts of culpable violation of the Constitution, nine acts of betrayal of public trust, four acts of other high crimes and three acts of corruption.


Sereno is said to have failed to submit a complete set of statements of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN) as required by the Judicial and Bar Council, which screens judiciary appointees.


She is also accused of manipulating the screening process for court appointees, including undermining the appointment of Associate Justice Francis Jardeleza.


The House justice panel is drafting the articles of impeachment against the chief justice, which will be submitted to the plenary for approval.


After several hours of oral arguments, Acting Chief Justice Antonio Carpio directed Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno and Solicitor General Jose Calida to submit their respective memorandum on the petition that seeks the top magistrate's ouster.


Carpio also ordered both parties to turn in their memorandum and all the documents requested from them on or before April 20 without extension.


After this, the case will be deemed submitted for the resolution, said Carpio, before ending more than five hours of oral arguments that were marked with heated exchanges, mostly between Sereno and Associate Justice Teresita de Castro.


A memorandum contains a summary of arguments, which may include additional claims that will bolster the parties' positions.


The Supreme Court en banc earlier denied Sereno’s motion for inhibition against her five colleagues in connection with the quo warranto petition filed by the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), seeking to nullify her appointment.


Sereno accused Associate Justices Diosdado Peralta, Lucas Bersamin, Francis Jardeleza, Noel Tijam and Teresita Leonardo-De Castro of showing "actual bias" and "animosity".


Before the start of the oral arguments, Acting Chief Justice Antonio Carpio announced that the five justices, whom Sereno accused of being biased against her, had denied her motion seeking their inhibition from the case.


Sereno moved for the inhibition of the five associate justices who have testified against her in the impeachment hearings in the House of Representatives.


Carpio said the justices would explain their reasons for denying Sereno’s motion for inhibition together with the resolution of the quo warranto petition.


Sereno’s counsel, lawyer Alex Poblador, reiterated that their participation in the proceedings should not be considered as waiver of their position that the five justices should inhibit from the case.


During the oral argument, Calida told the 15-man High Tribunal that it may assume jurisdiction over the quo warranto petition despite Sereno’s claim that she can only be removed through impeachment.


Calida cited the case of Estrada vs. Macapagal-Arroyo where the Court exercised its jurisdiction over the quo warranto petition filed by former President Joseph Estrada against his successor.


“The ruling made a full determination of the issue of whether it can oust the President who is an impeachable official, or find that she was unlawfully holding office…,” Calida said.


Calida said Sereno is not fit to hold the top judicial post for her failure to comply with the requirements as provided under the law.


He said the offenses that may warrant the filing of a quo warranto petition are different from the offenses that would warrant the filing of an impeachment complaint.


“A quo warranto ousts a public officer on the ground of ineligibility or failing to meet the qualifications for such public office, at the time of his appointment, while impeachment removes a validly appointed or elected impeachable officer upon conviction of any of the impeachable offenses committed while in office,” Calida said.


Poblador, on the other hand, said the granting of the quo warranto petition would set “a very dangerous precedent, erode the independence of the judiciary and the principle of separation of powers.”


He maintained that Section 2, Article XI of the Constitution provides that “impeachable officials may be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, culpable violation of the Constitution, treason, bribery, graft and corruption, other high crimes, or betrayal of public trust."


“It is not difficult to see that allowing the Solicitor General to remove a sitting justice by quo warranto will set a dangerous precedent that will destroy this public policy,” Poblador said while urging the SC justices during the oral arguments to dismiss Calida’s petition.


“If allowed to do so, what will stop the Solicitor General from filing similar petitions against any sitting Justice, based on any offense, whether impeachable or not, on the theory that such offense can somehow reflect on his integrity and probity?” he said.


Poblador also reiterated that the Chief Justice was continuously looking for her other Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALNs), which she intends to submit to the proper court—the Senate impeachment tribunal.


“The Chief Justice will do so, not because she has something to hide but simply because, firstly, this Honorable Court is not a trier of facts, let alone a trial court that can try and decide a complaint that she has violated the SALN laws,” Poblador said.


The impeachment proceedings, he argued, have commenced and once the Articles of Impeachment are filed with the Senate, it is the Senate that has the exclusive power to try and decide those issues.


Sereno, who is on indefinite leave, earlier said she is ready to face the impeachment proceedings in the Senate.

Albayalde is new PNP chief, Galvez to head AFP

Published in Latest News

Photo: CNN Philippines


CAMP CRAME, Quezon City — President Rodrigo Duterte has announced the appointment of National Capital Region Police Office Oscar Albayalde as the incoming chief of the Philippine National Police.


The announcement immediately was lauded by leaders and the 190,000-strong PNP now headed by Director General Ronald “Bato” M. dela Rosa.


Turnover of command reportedly will be on April 19 at the PNP headquarters in Camp Crame.


Duterte also announced the appointment of Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez, current chief of the Western Mindanao Command, as incoming chief of staff of the Armed Forces.


Galvez will replace Gen. Rey Leonardo Guerrero whose extended term expires also this April. Guerrero will be next administrator of the Maritime Autority (Marina) while dela Rosa will be the next chief of the Bureau of Prisons.  


“The PNP welcomes the appointment of Director Oscar Albayalde as incoming PNP chief, as announced by the President in his speech in Malacañang during the awarding of Gawad Saka 2017. The 190,000-strong PNP uniformed and non-uniformed personnel will give its full support to his leadership. His proven track record of service assures us that the policies of the government relative to public order and safety will be sustained,” said PNP spokesman Chief Superintendent John C. Bulalacao.


 Albayalde, who hails from San Fernando, Pampanga is a known nemesis of rogue and incompetent cops in Metro Manila.


“Si Albayalde lang sa PNP kasi tinanong ko ‘yung mga taga-Davao...” Duterte said in a speech at the Malacañang Palace.


The President added that locals in Davao described Albayalde as very strict, making the latter fit for the post.


“The stricter, the better,” the President said of the police official known for sacking officers he would find sleeping on the job during surprise inspections.


Albayalde said:“I am very very much thankful to the Good Lord and the President for giving trust and confidence in me.”


“Rest assured that I will not betray their trust and confidence. Yun ang maipapangako ko sa kanila,” Albayalde said.


He vowed to continue his work habit and support President Duterte’s reform programs particularly when it comes to the crackdown against criminality, terrorism, drugs and corruption.


Never assigned in Mindanao and although not a native of Davao City, Albayalde thanked Gen. Dela Rosa for supporting him all throughout his career.


“I would like to thank him (Dela Rosa) for his support. Hindi niya alam na malaking bagay ‘yung pag-eendorse  niya sa akin sa ating Presidente. So I want to thank him from the bottom of my heart, at ibinigay din niya sa akin yung tiwala niya. So again, I will not betray his trust and confidence,” he said.


He acknowledged that it was Gen. Dela Rosa’s endorsement which won him the race for the top PNP post.


President Duterte since last year had been taking notice of how Albayalde had been doing his job as Metro Manila police chief.

The Philippines as Olympic Games host?

Published in Sports



File photo from: Philippine Daiy Inquirer


The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has opened its door to poor countries like the Philippine to experience hosting the Olympic Games by relaxing its rules on the cost of bidding that, in the past, has proven a big burden for those interested in staging the quadrennial conclave.


The IOC has, in fact, expressed its intention of removing the high financial requirements bidders have to face in bidding and hosting the competitions among the world’s finest athletes.


The IOC, in an article that appeared in the news@yardbreaker.comlast week, has detailed how it is trying to persuade African countries to host the 2022 Youth Olympics with a no-cost bidding process.


The IOC announced it will “assume more responsibility and work" on behalf of potential candidates before it picks a host in October.


 The IOC wants a "simpler, shorter and cheaper" bidding process amid worldwide concerns over the cost of offering to play host.


Although the IOC is setting its eyes for the 2022 Youth Summer Games to be the first Olympics hosted in Africa, not a few are of the belief that invitations are also to be applied to indigent nations in other continents like the Philippines in Southeast, which has long signified intentions of hosting the “Greatest Sports Show on Earth.”


Among the requirements the IOC seeks to be eased is the need to produce a candidate file or prepare and make a formal on-stage presentation to IOC voters.


African Olympic officials will have to meet an April 13 deadline given by the world body. Olympic officials will visit Africa in May to make a feasibility study into hosting and gauge "motivation of the local authorities."


The IOC also wants the Youth Olympic events to move out of stadiums and create a festival experience in parks, streets and city squares. Potential hosts can also suggest sports from recognized though non-Olympic bodies to be included in the program.


Invitations to bidders will be sent by the IOC executive board after it meets in July. The IOC will pick the host of the 2022 Youth Olympic Games during its Oct. 8-9 meeting in Buenos Aires, Argentina. 

Mariah Carey, Air Supply in Manila shows

Published in Entertainment

Photo from Instagram | @mariahcarey


American singer and songwriter Mariah Carey is coming back to Manila for a special one-night concert on October 26 at the Araneta Coliseum. 


The pop icon is set to perform her number ones and more, bringing a new and bigger tour for her Filipino fans.said event organizer Wilbros Live.


Mariah last rocked Manila in October 2014 as part of her "The Elusive Chanteuse Show" tour.


Mariah will be performing as part of the "The #1's" tour, where her setlists will consist of her various chart-topping hits throughout her lengthy career.


Mariah is poised to make a live comeback after a series of highly-successful residencies in Las Vegas, although there's no news of a new album just yet. The singer last released Me. I Am Mariah… The Elusive Chanteuse in 2014.


Australian soft-rock duo Air Supply will also return once more to the Philippines for their Over Asia 2018 tour on May 30, 2018, at the Newport Performing Arts Theatre in Resort World Manila, Pasay City.


Composed of Graham Rusell and Russel Hitchcock, the now duo continues to sing their popular hits and make the crown sing with the Filipino fans again.


he band is known for their famous hits such as Two Less Lonely People in the WorldLost in LoveEvery Woman in the World, and Now and Forever. Relive the classic hits once more as they conquer the love songs of the 80’s in one special night.

Mariah is the best-selling female artiste of all time with more than 200 million records sold worldwide to date and eighteen Billboard #1 singles (seventeen self-penned), including “Hero,” “Fantasy,” “Always Be My Baby,” “Honey,” “One Sweet Day,” “Without You,” “Touch My Body,” “We Belong Together,” “Don’t Forget About Us” and the global smash hit Christmas single “All I Want for Christmas Is You” – more than any solo artiste in history. With her distinct five-octave vocal range, prolific song writing, and producing talent, Mariah has defined the modern pop performance. 


As a singer, songwriter and record producer, she has been recognized with five Grammy Awards, nine American Music Awards, Billboard’s “Artist of the Decade” Award, the World Music Award for “World’s Best Selling Female Artiste of the Millennium,” and BMI’s “Icon Award” to name a few.

“Mariah Carey: Live in Concert” is presented by Wilbros Live. Tickets will be on sale beginning April 20 via Ticketnet or call 911-5555 for details.

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