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SC keeps Sereno on tenterhooks

The Supreme Court is expected to decide today on ousted Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno’s appeal to reverse its May 11 decision removing her from her post, a source said Monday.

Sereno’s motion for reconsideration had been included in the agenda in today’s regular en banc session, said the source who requested anonymity.

He said a 25-page draft resolution by Associate Justice Noel Tijam had already been circulated among the justices.

The justices were expected to vote on whether to grant or deny Sereno’s appeal based on the arguments she raised in her 205-page motion for reconsideration filed on May 30, the source said.

But judicial observers said they expected the high court to vote to sustain its decision to oust Sereno and to deny her appeal for reinstatement.

That denial will pave the way for the Judicial and Bar Council to start the search for Sereno’s replacement.

In its ruling on May 11, the high court granted the quo warranto petition filed by Solicitor General Jose Calida and invalidated Sereno’s appointment in 2012.

The Court disqualified her from the post for her alleged lack of proven integrity due to her failure to file all her statements of assets, liabilities and net worth when she was still teaching law at the University of the Philippines.

That decision led to Sereno vacating her post and Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio being designated as acting chief justice.

Besides her ouster, the high court also issued a show-cause order requiring Sereno to explain why she should not be sanctioned for supposedly violating the Code of Professional Responsibility and Code of Judicial Conduct “for transgressing the sub judice rule and for casting aspersions on the members of the Supreme Court.”

In her appeal, Sereno insisted on her argument that the high court had no authority to remove her from office because she could only be ousted through impeachment.

She also argued that the Court violated her constitutional right to due process and overstepped its power.

She said the quo warranto petition should not have been granted because it already had gone beyond the one-year prescription period from the appointment. 

Lastly, she insisted on her plea for inhibition of six justices she accused of being biased against her: Associate Justices Teresita Leonardo-de Castro, Diosdado Peralta, Lucas Bersamin, Francis Jardeleza, Noel Tijam and Samuel Martires.

But Calida asked the high court to deny Sereno’s the appeal in his comment filed last week.

Topics: Supreme Court , Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno , Associate Justice Noel Tijam , Judicial and Bar Council
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