Voting 8-6, the Supreme Court (SC) sitting en banc on Friday granted the quo warranto petition filed by Solicitor General Jose Calida seeking to nullify the appointment of Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.
This was announced by SC Spokesman Theodore Te in a press briefing after the High Court’s special en banc session.
Sereno is the first Chief Justice to be removed from office through quo warranto proceedings.
“The petition for quo warranto is granted, respondent Maria Lourdes P.A. Sereno is found disqualified from and is hereby adjudged guilty of unlawfully holding and exercising the office of the Chief Justice. Accordingly, respondent Maria Lourdes P.A. Sereno is ousted and excluded therefrom,” the court decision read by Te said.
Those who voted to grant the quo warranto petition against Sereno were Associate Justices Teresita Leonardo-de Castro, Diosdado Peralta, Lucas Bersamin, Francis Jardeleza, Samuel Martires, Andres Reyes Jr., Alexander Gesmundo, and Noel Tijam who penned the Court’s decision.
Meanwhile, those who dissented were Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio and Associate Justices Presbitero Velasco, Mariano Del Castillo, Estela Perlas-Bernabe, Marvic Leonen and Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa.
The High Court also announced that the position of the Chief Justice is declared vacant and that the Judicial and Bar Council should begin the application and nomination process for Sereno’s replacement.
“The decision is immediately executory without need of further action from the Court,” the decision said.Sereno’s spokesperson lawyer Carlo Cruz said last Wednesday that they would file a motion for reconsideration once the court rules in favor of the petition.
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Calida filed the quo warranto petition seeking the nullification of Sereno’s appointment as Chief Justice over her alleged failure to file her Statements of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALNs) for several years from 1986 to 2006 when she was a professor at the UP College of Law.
It was found out that aside from her SALNs for the years 2006, 2009, 2010, and 2011, which she submitted in her applications for Associate Justice and Chief Justice, Sereno only filed SALNs for the years 1998, 2002, and 2006 during her tenure as law professor at the UP College of Law from 1986 up to 2006.
Sereno earlier insisted that the SC has no jurisdiction to hear and resolve the quo warranto petition since she can only be removed through impeachment proceedings conducted by the Senate sitting as an impeachment court. (PNA)