High Court rules with finality on ouster of former Chief Justice Sereno

Jun. 19, 2018

MANILA, Philippines — The Supreme Court (SC), with a vote of 8-6, junked on Tuesday the motion for reconsideration that sought to reverse its May 11 decision that removed Maria Lourdes Sereno as chief justice.

In a press conference, the High Court’s Information Chief Atty. Theodore Te said the SC, “during its session today (Tuesday, June 19), in the matter of Republic of the Philippines vs. Maria Lourdes P.A. Sereno denied with finality respondent’s Motion for Reconsideration of the Court’s May 11, 2018 decision.”

The May 11 decision granted the quo warranto petition, filed by Solicitor General Jose Calida, for lack of proven integrity due to her failure to file all her statements of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALNs) when she was still teaching law in the University of the Philippines.

‘A done deal sealed by Duterte’

Opposition and milinat lawmakers denounced the Court’s decision, although admitting that they were not surprised.

ACT-Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio branded the ruling as a “done deal” sealed by President Rodrigo Duterte.

“As expected. Sinelyohan na ng mayorya sa Korte Suprema ang matagumpay na pagtokhang sa nagsasariling hudikatura alinsunod sa kagustuhan ni Duterte,” he said.

Anakpawis Rep. Ariel Casilao is also unsurprised that the SC “already took the bolder step of violating the constitution when it favored the quo warranto petition.”

Casilao said the SC “allowed itself as a stamp pad of the executive branch to ultimately abandon the rule of law, separation of powers and ‘checks and balances’ in governance.”

“On this atmosphere of collusion between the executive, the judiciary and even the legislative, thus, leading to an authoritarian and undemocratic regime, Anakpawis urges the people to take the task of protecting and upholding democracy, basic rights and sovereignty, the very pillars this country is supposed to be founded on, and which the branches are obviously trampling upon,” he urged.

Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate meanwhile pointed out that the high court decision was a “dark page in the history of the Supreme Court.”

“Ito ay isang maitim na pahina sa kasaysayan ng Korte Suprema, dito talagang makikita natin na talagang comprosmised na ang Korte Suprema at hindi nakapagtataka kung sa mga darating na panahon ay sunud sunuran ito sa mga gusto ng malacañang,” he said.

With Sereno’s ouster affirmed, Gabriela Women’s Party Reps. Emmi de Jesus and Arlene Brosas called on more women to support #BabaeAko campaign “against Duterte’s macho-fascist attacks and against his bid to put every institution at his and beck and call.”

‘Sereno should continue the fight’

Bayan Muna chairman and former Rep. Neri Colmenares said the high court decision has implications both on the legal front and on the struggle for democracy.

He said it will allow President Rodrigo Duterte “to appoint a chief justice that would kowtow to his will,” and will also “create a chilling effect on the entire judiciary, and the independent constitutional bodies” like the Commission on Elections, Commission on Audit and the Civil Service Commission.

With this, Colmenares said the struggle continues as long as tyranny exists.

“So this struggle is not only about the position of the chief justice but the rise of tyranny in the country. It is not only for CJ Sereno but also for the Filipino people. So the struggle will not stop with the decision. The struggle continues as long as tyranny exists,” he said.

“We urge CJ Sereno to continue being part of the peoples struggle against tyranny,” he added. (davaotoday.com)

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