Day of Sereno’s ouster saddest for judiciary, Supreme Court — Davide
Former Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr. lamented the decision of the Supreme Court (SC) to oust fellow former head magistrate Maria Lourdes Sereno, saying that the high tribunal should have been the ‘sentinel of the rule of law’.
“That Friday, May 11, was the saddest day of the Philippine judiciary, especially of the Supreme Court, and ultimately, the entire nation and all Filipinos,” Davide said during the Safeguarding Democracy forum on Thursday.
“Because the supposed to be the guardian of the constitution, the protector of the rights of the people, the sentinel of the rule of law, the steward of democracy […] violated the constitutional mandate that the chief justice can be removed only by impeachment,” Davide added.
The Supreme Court voted 8-6, in favor of the quo warranto petition filed by Solicitor General Jose Calida against Sereno. Calida’s petition was grounded on the insufficiency of Sereno’s previous Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Network (SALN).
Davide said that the biases of some of the associate justice got in the way of the rule of law, therefore denying Sereno due process.
“Five or six of the eight justices ought to have inhibited themselves because their previous conduct of acts such as testifying against the chief justice in the impeachment proceedings merely demonstrated their biases,” Davide said.
“They could not expect them to act with utmost impartiality, objectivity and justice — virtues and values that due process requires. Hence, the chief justice was denied due process,” he added.
Davide also said that voting in favor of the quo warranto complaint is a culpable violation, since the eight associate justices have better knowledge of the law.
However, he still hopes that the justices who voted for the quo warranto petition would reverse their decision after Sereno files a motion for reconsideration.
“I hope that through our collective prayers, that two of the eight (associate justices) might save the Supreme Court and the judiciary by changing their minds,” Davide said. /ee
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