Sereno: 4 justices must inhibit themselves from SolGen case
Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno wanted at least four Supreme Court justices to inhibit themselves from the high court’s unprecedented hearing on whether her appointment nearly six years ago should be nullified.
In petitions filed by her lawyers on Thursday, Sereno accused Associate Justices Diosdado Peralta, Lucas Bersamin, Francis Jardeleza and Noel Tijam of being biased against her and asked them to inhibit themselves from her case.
The four were among the eight justices who testified against Sereno during the House of Representatives hearings on her impeachment. They also supported calls for her resignation.
“Due process of law requires a hearing before an impartial and disinterested tribunal, and that every litigant is entitled to nothing less than the cold neutrality of an impartial judge,” Sereno said in her petition, adding that her four colleagues “cannot decide the quo warranto petition objectively and impartially.”
She also said she was still pursuing her argument that the Supreme Court had no authority to remove her from office because the Constitution provided that she could only be ousted through impeachment.
Sereno has agreed to attend the April 10 oral arguments before her fellow justices and argue why the high court should not give way to Solicitor General Jose Calida’s “quo warranto” petition seeking to remove her from office.
Sereno, who was forced to go on indefinite leave by her colleagues last Feb. 27, said Peralta had “prejudged the merits of the quo warranto petition and may already have formed an opinion that the Chief Justice should have been disqualified to be nominated as Chief Justice.”
During the House hearings, Peralta said that Sereno’s appointment “could be considered void” because she failed to comply with the required submission of her statements of assets, liabilities and net worth when she applied for the post of Chief Justice in 2012.
According to Sereno, Peralta’s bias came from his belief that she caused the exclusion of his wife, Court of Appeals (CA) Associate Justice Fernanda Lampas Peralta from being considered CA presiding justice last year.
Sereno accused Bersamin of “bias and animosity” toward her when he likened her to a “dictator” for supposedly arbitrarily taking over the cases against the Maute family.
She said Jardeleza “harbored ill feelings” towards her because she questioned his integrity when Jardeleza was nominated to the Supreme Court in 2014.
On Tijam, Sereno claimed he has already formed an opinion that she should be removed from office.
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