“Kung ang korte ay muling papanig sa mali, the Supreme Court is set to commit an error and that is be a violator of the Constitution.”
By TYRA AQUINO
MANILA — Supporters of former chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno called on the Supreme Court (SC) to reverse its decision voiding the appointment of Sereno. The protest was held on the day the high court is set to finalize its decision on the ouster.
Last May 11, the SC ruled to remove Sereno as the top magistrate, granting Solicitor General Jose Calida’s quo warranto petition. Calida claimed that Sereno’s appointment was void because she did not file not file her complete Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN).
Sereno filed for a motion of reconsideration on May 30, stating that she may only be removed through impeachment proceedings. Sereno said that the 8-6 decision was “null and void” because it violated her right to due process.
Lead convenor of Coalition for Justice Caloy Diño said the SC decision is a violation of the Constitution.
Diño said it is only the legislature that has the authority and power to prosecute and remove impeachable officials. “The Congress will impeach and the Senate will conduct the trial,” he said.
Diño also stated that “personal biases and grudges” should be set aside.
In her appeal, Sereno argued that the court denied her due process when it allowed Associate Justices Diosdado M. Peralta, Teresita L. De Castro, Francis H. Hardeleza, Noel G. Tijam, Lucas P. Bersamin, and Samuel R. Martires to hear her case despite showing apparent bias and prejudice for testifying against her before the House Committee on Justices.
Sereno earned the ire of President Rodrigo Duterte after she questioned the validity of Duterte’s list of public officials deemed to be drug suspects.
Speaking at the rally, Kabataan Rep. Sarah Elago said, “Kung ang korte ay muling papanig sa mali, the Supreme Court is set to commit an error and that is be a violator of the Constitution.”
Protesters maintained that the issue is beyond Sereno.
Diño warned that if the ruling on the quo warranto is upheld, “the justices of the court will forever be under threat by the executive.”
Elago added that the SC ruling means that a quo warranto petition may be used to remove any official in office. “It is very clear that the law is being used to favor those who are in power,” she said.
Meanwhile, former Bayan Muna Representative Teddy Casiño said the ouster of Sereno “is part of the Duterte administration’s plan to impose dictatorship.”