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SC justices can be probed only after removal

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LIFE’S INSPIRATIONS: “… But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well…” (Jesus Christ, our God and Savior, in Matthew 6:33, the Holy Bible).

LIABILITY OF SC JUSTICES FOR GRAFT ALREADY SETTLED ISSUE: So the public may know, here are some parts of the Supreme Court decision in the case of “Lozano vs. Davide”, A.M. No. 10-1-13-SC, March 2, 2010, explaining why the Ombudsman cannot investigate any justice of the Supreme Court over any graft or criminal complaint:

“A simple jurisprudential research would easily reveal that this Court has had the occasion to rule on the liability of Justices of the Supreme Court for violation of Section 3(e) of R.A. 3019…

“In re Wenceslao Laureta, the client of Atty. Laureta filed a complaint with the Tanodbayan charging Members of the Supreme Court with violation of Section 3(e) of Republic Act No. 3019 for having knowingly, deliberately and with bad faith rendered an unjust resolution in a land dispute.

OMBUDSMAN REVIEW OF SC JUDGMENT IS ABSURDITY: “The Court unequivocally ruled that insofar as this Court and its Divisions are concerned, a charge of violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act on the ground that such collective decision is `unjust’ should not prosper; the parties cannot `re-litigate in another forum the final judgment of the Court,’ as to do so is to subordinate the Court, in the exercise of its judicial functions, to another body.

“In re Joaquin T. Borromeo reiterates the Laureta ruling, particularly that (1) judgments of the Supreme Court are not reviewable; (2) administrative, civil and criminal complaints against a judge should not be turned into substitutes for appeal; (3) only courts may declare a judgment unjust; and (4) a situation where the Ombudsman is made to determine whether or not a judgment of the Court is unjust is an absurdity…

“Plainly, under these rulings, a criminal complaint for violation of Section 3(e) of RA 3019, based on the legal correctness of the official acts of Justices of the Supreme Court, cannot prosper and should not be entertained.

ONLY AFTER REMOVAL CAN SC JUSTICES BE PROCEEDED AGAINST CRIMINALLY: “This is not to say that Members of the Court are absolutely immune from suit during their term, for they are not. The Constitution provides that the appropriate recourse against them is to seek their removal from office if they are guilty of culpable violation of the Constitution, treason, bribery, graft and corruption, other high crimes, or betrayal of public trust.

“Only after removal can they be criminally proceeded against for their transgressions. While in office and thereafter, and for their official acts that do not constitute impeachable offenses, recourses against them and their liabilities therefor are as defined in the above rulings…”

2003 OMBUDSMAN RULE ON RAPS VS. SC JUSTICES: By the way, the Ombudsman on July 21, 2003, already issued an order which is self-explanatory: “Henceforth… all criminal complaints against judges and other members of the Supreme Court shall be immediately dismissed and referred to the Supreme Court for appropriate action. The dismissal shall not in any manner touch on the merits of the complaint, and shall be made for the sole purpose of referring the same to the Supreme Court…”

by Atty. Batas Mauricio




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