Santiago says SC cannot interfere in impeachment trial

January 24, 2012 11:13 pm 

By Jelly F. Musico

MANILA, Jan. 24 – Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago said on Tuesday that the Supreme Court has no authority to in interfere in the Senate as impeachment trial of SC Chief Justice Renato Corona.

Santiago made this comment as she finally joined the impeachment proceedings after hypertension forced her to stay home during the first four days of trial last week.

”The main issue for me is that the public should understand what is going on, and the non-lawyers in the impeachment court should also understand what is going on. In my very humble view, in the first place, the Supreme Court has absolutely no role to play in this process,” Santiago, a constitutionalist, said.

Santiago said, in fact, the senators should be called the presidential high court of impeachment, which is on the level of the SC.

”So we are not possibly subordinate to the SC because of the constitutional phrase that the Senate has the exclusive power to try and decide. That should settle issues that are already being raised on whether our decision can be interfered with by anyway through a TRO, or any other process, by the SC. No it cannot,” she said.

Santiago said there was a constitutional list on areas or topics where the SC has jurisdiction but “we are not listed there.”

”In fact, in the Rules of Court, there’s a specific exceptional rule that says these Rules of Court do not apply to certain cases like land registration cases, naturalization cases, election cases, etc. So that means that the Rules of Court do not necessarily apply to all types of litigation so even much less so to an impeachment court. The Supreme Court cannot assert any level of judicial authority over the impeachment court,” Santiago further explained.

Recently, the SC asked the Senate to comment on the temporary restraining order (TRO) filed by some individuals before the high tribunal. (PNA) RMA/jfm

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