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Mike Arroyo wants Sereno to inhibit from DOJ-Comelec panel case

Former First Gentleman Jose Miguel "Mike" Arroyo on Monday asked Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno to inhibit from the case questioning the constitutionality of the joint Department of Justice-Commission on Elections panel that filed the electoral sabotage case against his wife, former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.   Mrs. Arroyo, now a congresswoman representing Pampanga’s second district, was on hospital arrest for more than eight months and is now out on bail after the panel filed a poll sabotage case against her in connection with the alleged irregularities in the 2007 elections.   In a 27-page motion filed by his lawyers Ferdinand Topacio and Joselito Lomangaya with the Supreme Court, Mr. Arroyo, who is also a respondent in the poll sabotage case, claimed that Sereno had shown “obvious” solicitude toward Solicitor-General Anselmo Cadiz during the oral arguments on the case.   “The Chief Justice has prejudged the case, as in fact she has openly and directly coached the Solicitor-General as the matters that should be included in his Memorandum in order to obtain a favorable ruling in this case,” the Motion for Voluntary Inhibition read.   The motion likewise claimed that Sereno, recently appointed Chief Justice by President Benigno Aquino III, demonstrated “bias and partiality” toward the present administration.     It cited that Sereno voted in favor of the Aquino administration in cases such as the Truth Commission, the impeachment of Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez, and Arroyo’s DOJ watch list case, among others.   “In the case at bar, the present government has made it clear, in various public pronouncements, that it considers as top priority the continued incarceration of the Petitioner and his immediate family, particularly former President Arroyo,” the motion said.   “As shown by her [Sereno] voting record, it is more than a fair expectation to anticipate the Chief Justice’s vote in favor of the government’s position in this case that the Joint Panel is not constitutionally infirm, regardless of the merits,” it added.   Last week, the Arroyo camp sought Sereno’s inhibition from the former president’s watch list order case. - Rouchelle Dinglasan/KBK, GMA News