After the announcement of Supreme Court ruling to remove Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno from office on Friday, May 10, 2018, Malacañang urged the the public to respect the high court’s decision granting the quo warranto petition to remove Sereno.
The SC en banc on Friday voted, 8-6, in favor of the quo warranto petition filed against Sereno by Solicitor General Jose Calida on Mar. 5, 2018.
“The SC is the final arbiter of the law. The High Court has spoken. Let us respect its decision granting the quo warranto petition as the proper remedy and the quo warranto petition ruling against Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a press statement.
Roque said the SC, as co-equal branch of government, is duty-bound to uphold the Constitution.
“The court ruling is likewise an assertion of the supremacy of the fundamental law of the land,” Roque said.
Presidential Chief Legal Counsel Atty. Salvador Panelo said the public “must bow to the majesty of the law” and not allow themselves to be controlled by their emotions and biases.
“The Constitution has given the duty of interpreting the law to the highest court of the land and we must abide by it regardless of our disagreement with its ruling. That is how democracy works,” Panelo said.
“Dura lex sed lex or ‘the law may be harsh, but it is the law”. Decisions cannot be based on emotions nor on biases,” he added.
Panelo said the SC ruled in favor of the quo warranto petition because “this case also involves Ms. Sereno’s qualifications, i.e., her integrity”.
“Apart from the constitutional requirement that public officers should file their SALN, (statement of assets, liabilities and networth) a person seeking to be a member of the SC before he or she qualifies to be a nominee to such office must submit all SALNs during the tenure in public office as required by the rules of the Judicial and Bar Council,” Panelo said.
“The SC in issuing such ruling is only performing its constitutional duty of interpreting the provisions of the Constitution and rendering a decision on cases properly brought before it,” he added.
Panelo reiterated that Malacañang has nothing to do with the filing of the quo warranto petition against Sereno, saying it was Calida’s own initiative based on Sereno’s invalid appointment.
Associate Justices Teresita Leonardo De Castro, Diosdado Peralta, Lucas Bersamin, Francis Jardeleza, Noel Tijam, Samuel Martires, Andres Reyes Jr, and Alexander Gesmundo voted in favor of quo warranto petition.
The oppositors include Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio and Associate Justices Presbitero Velasco Jr., Mariano del Castillo, Estela Perlas Bernabe, Marvic Leonen, and Benjamin Caguioa.
Sereno, the first woman to hold the country’s top post in the judiciary, also emerged as the first Chief Justice to be ousted through quo waranto petition.
Appointed in 2012 by former President Benigno Aquino III, Sereno replaced former Chief Justice Renato Corona who was ousted through impeachment in December 2011.
Sereno also faces impeachment case but with SC ruling, Panelo said there is no reason now for the House of Representatives to continue the impeachment proceedings.