THE Supreme Court on Tuesday decided to conduct oral arguments on the quo warranto petition filed by Solicitor General Jose Calida seeking to nullify the appointment of Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.
During its summer en banc session in Baguio City, the high court also required Sereno to attend the oral arguments at the Court Session Hall on April 10 to answer questions from her colleagues regarding her case.
Sereno is on leave to prepare for her impeachment trial at the Senate.
“The Petition for Quo Warranto will be heard on the oral arguments on Tuesday, April 10, 2018 at 2 p.m.,” Supreme Court spokesman Theodore Te told reporters.
Solicitor General Jose Calida backed the high court’s decision.
“There no better party to address the petition head-on than Sereno herself,” Calida said in his Twitter account.
“Any other litigant will only unnecessarily add more issues to be resolved by the Supreme Court. ”
Calida made his statement even as at least 20 civil society groups vowed to hold a vigil at the Supreme Court compound in Baguio City starting Tuesday to persuade the tribunal to dump the petition against Sereno.
Some of the group leaders commuted from Manila to join in the protest and vigil. The groups include Alitaptap, People Power Volunteers for Reform, Democratic Alliance Movement of the Philippines International, Netizens for Conscience and Bravery, Pilipinas kong Mahal, Edsa 30, UPSAMASA, Win for Freedom Movement, The Silent Majority, Bagani, Everywoman, Edsa Prodem and others mostly belonging to the Coalition for Justice.
Meanwhile, the high wcourt also denied the petitions for intervention filed by the Makabayan lawmakers led by Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate and a group of private individuals led by running priest Robert Reyes that they be allowed to intervene on the petition against Sereno. The high court merely noted the same bid by the Integrated Bar of the Philippines.
In his quo warranto petition, Calida sought to nullify Sereno’s appointment by citing her alleged failure to fully disclose her wealth before applying for the top post in the high court in 2012 following the ouster of Chief Justice Renato Corona due to his unexplained wealth.
In her comment, Sereno asked the high court to dismiss the quo warranto petition. She says her fellow magistrates have no authority to remove her from office via quo warranto because the 1987 Constitution mandates that impeachable officials like her can be ousted “only by impeachment.”
Sereno says the petition should be dismissed not only because the Constitution and jurisprudence so demand, “but also because the Chief Justice deserves her day in court before the Senate sitting as an Impeachment Tribunal.”