Friday, May 11, 2018

Supreme Court ousted Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno on Friday, May 11.

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MANILA, Philippines – In an unprecedented and historic move, the Supreme Court (SC) ousted Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno on Friday, May 11.

Voting 8-6, the SC en banc granted the quo warranto petition to remove Sereno from office on the basis of an invalid appointment.

Sereno attended the en banc session where 8 justices voted for the quo warranto. The 6 dissenters, according to Court insiders, were as follows: Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio and Associate Justices Presbitero Velasco Jr, Mariano del Castillo, Estela Perlas Bernabe, Marvic Leonen, and Benjamin Caguioa.

9 of the justices said she violated requirements on the Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN).

Details of the main decision are still being awaited as of posting.

The decision was expected from the en banc, whose members had made their negative sentiments towards Sereno known.

This is the first time that the SC removed its own chief, in a petition widely slammed for violating Sereno's constitutional right to an impeachment process.

What happens now?

Sereno will have a chance to file a motion for reconsideration.

During the appeal period, the focus shifts to the House of Representatives which is yet to vote on Sereno's impeachment. Senate President Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III has raised the possibility of the Upper House questioning the validity of the quo warranto ouster.

Constitutional Law professor Dan Gatmaytan said that the Senate can already assert its jurisdiction even without the articles of impeachment from the House. Gatmaytan said they can just invoke their constitutional mandate as an impeachment court.

If the Senate chooses to assert jurisdiction, it will result in a constitutional crisis, he said.

Gatmaytan likened the situation to the Marcos period when the Supreme Court was accused of enabling a dictatorship.

"When they started doing that, ignoring what the law says for a political outcome, it diminishes itself, and I think that's what the Court is walking into right now," Gatmaytan said. –

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