Constitutional Law

ESTRADA vs. SANDIGANBAYAN G.R. No. 159486-88. November 25, 2003 Partisan Political Activities



Atty. Alan F. Paguia, speaking for petitioner, Joseph Ejercito Estrada claims of political partisanship against the members of the Court, asserting that the justices have violated Rule 5.10 of the Code of Judicial Conduct which prohibits justices or judges from participating in any partisan political activity by attending the ‘EDSA 2 Rally’ and by authorizing the assumption of Vice-President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to the Presidency in violation of the 1987 Constitution. Petitioner contends that the justices have thereby prejudged a case that would assail the legality of the act taken by President Arroyo.

Sandiganbayan issued an order denying the foregoing motion, as well as the motion to dismiss, filed by petitioner. Forthwith, petitioner filed a ‘Mosyong Pangrekonsiderasyon’ of the foregoing order.



Was the act of the Chief Justice in swearing into office PGMA in EDSA a partisan political activity?



No. The claim of the petitioner is of no merit. It should be clear that the phrase “partisan political activities,” in its statutory context, relates to acts designed to cause the success or the defeat of a particular candidate or candidates who have filed certificates of candidacy to a public office in an election. The taking of an oath of office by any incoming President of the Republic before the Chief Justice of the Philippines is a traditional official function of the Highest Magistrate. The assailed presence of other justices of the Court at such an event could be no different from their appearance in such other official functions as attending the Annual State of the Nation Address by the President of the Philippines before the Legislative Department.

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