Thursday, May 10, 2018

Sereno pinatalsik bilang SC chief justice sa botong 8-6

In a landmark decision, the Supreme Court (SC) on Friday, May 11, ousted its chief justice over an alleged failure to meet the integrity requirement for members of the judiciary.

Radio dzBB's Cecil Villarosa and GMA News' Dano Tingcungco, both quoting respective sources, said the high court, voting 8-6 in a special en banc session, granted Solicitor General Jose Calida's petition for quo warranto, which seeks the invalidation of Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno's appointment to the country's highest judiciary post in 2012.

Voting in favor of the quo warranto petition were:

Teresita Leonardo-De Castro
Diosdado Peralta
Lucas Bersamin
Francis Jardeleza
Samuel Martires
Noel Tijam
Andres Reyes Jr
Alexander Gesmundo

Those who voted against the oust plea were:

Antonio Carpio
Presbitero Velasco
Perlas Bernabe
Mariano Del Castillo
Marvic Leonen
Benjamin Caguioa

Sereno, newly back at work from a two-month leave, presided over the full court meeting but recused herself from deliberations on the quo warranto pleading.

Latin for "by what authority," quo warranto is a legal remedy that can be initiated against a "person who usurps, intrudes into, or unlawfully holds or exercises a public office, position or franchise."

Calida's petition, filed March 5, accuses Sereno of non-compliance with the requirement of the Judicial and Bar Council, the body which screens and shortlists applicants to judiciary posts for the president's perusal, on the submission of Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN).

The JBC required of applicants for the chief justice post all SALNs while in government service.

Sereno, an SC associate justice when former Chief Justice Renato Corona was convicted by the Senate impeachment court, submitted to the JBC her SALNs from 2009, 2010, and 2011.

She taught law at the University of the Philippines (UP), a state institution, for 20 years.

Calida further alleged that Sereno failed to file her SALNs as required by law for 11 times in her two-decade tenure in UP.

Seeking the petition's dismissal for lack of jurisdiction, Sereno argued, among others, in her March 19 comment that impeachable officers can only be removed from office through impeachment at the legislature.

This is a line that would echo among her supporters, former justices of the SC, some lawmakers, and law professors and deans.

Citing "bias" and "animosity," the chief justice had also asked but failed to convince six of her colleagues in the SC to inhibit from hearing and deciding Calida's petition.

These are Associate Justices Teresita de Castro, Diosdado Peralta, Noel Tijam, Francis Jardeleza, Lucas Bersamin, and recently, Samuel Martires.

On April 10, the SC heard oral arguments on the petition for quo warranto in its Baguio session hall. For over five hours, Sereno -- and Calida, occasionally -- faced questioning from the SC justices.

Sereno also faces possible impeachment at the House of Representatives and a Senate impeachment trial, her preferred -- and what she said is the only allowable -- mode of ouster.

Source: GMA

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