MANILA, Philippines – The calls made by members of the judiciary for Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno to resign is “far worse than the impeachment and the quo warranto” or the move to render her appointment void, former chief justice Hilario Davide Jr said on Monday, March 12.
In a statement released Monday, Davide said, “At least, in the first two, constitutional and statutory processes are resorted to and the requirements of fairness and due process may appear to be satisfied with. The call to resign openly disregards these requirements.”
Davide also expressed “deep and profound concern” over these calls.
Davide, who was himself subjected to an impeachment proceeding at the Lower House, was chief justice from 1998 to 2005. He was an appointee of former president Joseph Estrada.
Davide warned the judges and the court employees that their resignation call will portray the judiciary as one that is unwilling to follow constitutional processes.
“The call is condemning without evidence, judging before hearing, applying additional political pressure on the Chief Magistrate, rather than according her the rights to a fair trial, to substantive procedural due process, and even to the rule of law,” he said.
Davide added: “Who would thereafter believe that the judiciary is the bastion of justice and fairness if the judges themselves deny these to the Chief Justice now?”
Sereno was defiant on Monday, saying she will not resign.
‘Alarmed’ at quo warranto
Davide said he was also “equally alarmed” by the quo warranto petition filed against Sereno, which was initiated by Solicitor General Jose Calida. The Supreme Court en banc has asked Sereno to comment.
Davide said that the prescriptive period of one year has lapsed, so the filing is no longer valid. Calida earlier explained that a prescriptive period cannot be imposed on the State as party.
Davide also cited the “biases” of the justices against Sereno who will now have to decide the chief justice’s fate.
“I fully agree with her appeal that all members and employees of the Judiciary should not involve themselves in the political fray. This is the best way to ensure that we preserve our judicial independence,” Davide said.
In a statement released Monday evening, the Negros Occidental Regional Trial Court Judges Association (NORTCJA) also denounced their fellow judges’ call for Sereno’s resignation.
The statement, signed by 18 judges from the region, said they were compelled to break their usual silence.
“We call for sobriety and prudence. We ask our fellow judges to remember our oath to uphold the Constitution and the rule of law; to be impartial and reserve judgment until all evidence have been presented; to be non-partisan and let due process take its course,” the statement said
READ: Statement of former CJ Hilario Davide: I call on the judges and employees of the judiciary to respect the rights of the Chief Justice to fairness, justice, due process and the rule of law. @rapplerdotcom pic.twitter.com/gOQ35sB926— Lian Buan (@lianbuan) March 12, 2018
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