Peers kick Sereno out via Calida’s QW
Updated 6 p.m.
Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno has become the first constitutional officer who was removed from office without an impeachment trial.
The Supreme Court (SC) voted 8-6, granting the quo warranto petition filed by Solicitor General Jose Calida, which questioned the qualification of Sereno to serve as the country’s top magistrate.
“Wherefore, the Petition for Quo Warranto is granted. Respondent Maria Lourdes P. A. Sereno is disqualified from and is hereby adjudged guilty of unlawfully holding and exercising the office of the Chief Justice,” read the dispositive portion of the high court’s decision.
“Accordingly, respondent Maria Lourdes P.A. Sereno is ousted and excluded therefrom…The position of the Chief Justice is declared vacant and the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) is directed to commence the application and nomination process,” the high court said.
On Friday, SC justices held a special en banc session, which Sereno initially presided over. Sereno consequently inhibited herself from the meeting once the en banc opened its deliberation on the quo warranto petition.
Under Rule 66 of the Rules of Court, a quo warranto proceeding is an action by the government against a person who unlawfully holds a public office or holds a position which he or she is not qualified. It is also an action initiated against an association acting as a corporation absent of any lawful authority.
Calida said Sereno is unlawfully holding the Chief Justice post because she failed to submit a complete statement of assets, liabilities, and networth (SALN), which was among the requirements set by the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC).
The eight magistrates who voted in favor of the quo warranto petition were: Associate Justices Teresita Leonardo De Castro, Diosdado Peralta, Lucas Bersamin, Samuel Martires, Francis Jardeleza, Andres Reyes Jr. Alexander Gesmundo, and Noel Tijam, who authored the decision.
The six magistrates who dissented were Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, and Associate Justices Presbitero Velasco Jr., Marvic Leonen, Estela Perlas-Bernabe, Mariano Del Castillo, and Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa.
The decision was immediately executory without the need for further action from the Court, said SC spokesman Atty. Theodore Te. /kga/ac
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