THE Supreme Court has required the Office of the Solicitor General to submit its reply to the comment filed by Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno on its quo warranto petition seeking to cancel her appointment as top magistrate.
“The Court directed the Solicitor General [Jose Calida] to submit the Republic’s reply to the respondent Chief Justice’s comment within five days from its receipt of notice,” high court spokesman Theodore Te told reporters.
The order came after Sereno on Monday asked the high court to dismiss the quo warranto petition seeking her removal as top magistrate for allegedly failing to comply with all the requirements when she applied for the position in 2012.
Sereno sought the petition’s dismissal for its alleged lack of jurisdiction and merit. She said the high court had no authority to remove her from office via quo warranto because officials could only be removed by impeachment.
She said impeachable officials, including all members of the Supreme Court, may only be removed upon impeachment by the House of Representatives and conviction by the Senate sitting as an impeachment court.
Sereno said she should also be allowed to respond to the allegations against her through the impeachment trial.
“The Chief Justice deserves her day in court before the Senate sitting as an Impeachment Tribunal,” Sereno said.
“To rule otherwise, and to preempt the impeachment process by summarily ousting the Chief Justice via quo warranto, would be tantamount to overthrowing the Constitution itself.”
Sereno said the quo warranto petition should not be entertained at all because it was “time-barred.”
A petition for quo warranto must be filed within one year from the “cause of ouster.”
“There is no authority to commence a quo warranto proceeding more than four years after the expiration of the one-year statute of limitations,” Sereno said.
She also disputed the substantive basis of the quo warranto petition filed by Calida.
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