Sereno seeks recusal of ‘faith-shaming’ SC justice in ouster plea
Chief Justice on-leave Maria Lourdes Sereno has sought the recusal of Supreme Court (SC) Associate Justice Samuel Martires from the quo warranto proceedings as she accused him of “faith-shaming” her.
In a statement on Saturday, Sereno said they filed a pleading before the SC alleging that Martires had shown “actual bias” against her after “he insinuated that her pervasive faith in God could be a sign of mental illness.”
“The Chief Justice, with due respect, has reasonable grounds to believe that the Hon. Associate Justice Samuel R. Martires has manifested actual bias against her, which should disqualify him from participating in these proceedings,” Sereno said in her pleading.
Sereno noted that Martires, during the oral arguments, “appeared to have made insinuations questioning Sereno’s mental or psychological fitness.”
The insinuations, the chief magistrate said, were “on the basis of her belief that God is the source of everything in [her] life,” she recalled.
“This was despite the fact that the Chief Justice’s mental or psychological fitness was not an issue raised at all in Calida’s petition,” Sereno said.
“With due respect, it appears that Justice Martires has formed an opinion on the competence of Respondent (Sereno) to serve as Chief Justice on some basis other than what he learned from his participation in this case. His objectivity and impartiality therefore appears to have been impaired,” she added.
In calling for his recusal, the chief magistrate’s camp cited Canon 3 (Impartiality), Section 5(a) of the New Code Of Judicial Conduct for the Philippine Judiciary.
It stated that judges should disqualify themselves from pariticpating in any proceedings if they have “actual bias or prejudice concerning a party or personal knowledge of disputed evidentiary facts concerning the proceedings.”
Earlier, Sereno had sought the inhibition of five other SC justices, namely Associate Justices Teresita Leonardo De Castro, Diosdado Peralta, Lucas Bersamin, Francis Jardeleza and Noel Tijam. /jpv