Group wants Sereno to inhibit from Aquino's Mamasapano case

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 27) — Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno should not be involved in trying the case against former President Benigno Aquino III over the bloody Mamasapano encounter in 2015, a group said Saturday.

The Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) said Sereno cannot be impartial because she was appointed by the former President.

"Ang alegasyon namin ay yung mga appointees ni Pangulong Aquino ay pinagtatakpan siya at nililigtas siya sa kasong ito ukol sa Mamasapano," VACC lawyer Ferdinand Topacio said in a media forum.

[Translation: "Our allegation is that appointees of President Aquino are trying to save him from prosecution in the Mamasapano case."]

The VACC earlier accused Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales of favoring Aquino when she downgraded his charges from homicide to graft and corruption, and usurpation or unlawful use of authority.

The VACC on Saturday said this is a clear conflict of interest since both Sereno and Morales were appointed by Aquino.

Earlier, the VACC asked the High Court to stop Aquino's arraignment on February 15, but the case was raffled off the Supreme Court's first division, where Sereno chairs a panel of four other justices.

The group said Sereno has a beef with them.

"May bias na po si Chief Justice Sereno sapagkat one of the petitioners assisting the SAF (Special Action Force) 44 parents ay ang VACC and dapat maginhibit siya," Topacio said.

[Translation: "Chief Justice Sereno has a bias because the VACC is one of the petitioners assisting the SAF 44 parents, so she must inhbit."]

The VACC also led the impeachment campaign against the Chief Justice in Congress. Their complaint, however, was dismissed by the House Committee on Justice, leaving only one impeachment case filed by lawyer Larry Gadon.

The Solicitor General on Thursday asked the Supreme Court to revive the homicide charges against Aquino and two other police officials, saying they were liable for the death of 44 members of the police's SAF on January 25, 2015.

READ: SolGen asks SC to revive homicide charges vs. Aquino over Mamasapano encounter

CNN Philippines' Claire Jiao contributed to this report.