BAGUIO, Philippines (UPDATED) – The 5 justices of the Supreme Court (SC) will not inhibit in the quo warranto petition to remove Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.
The motions for inhibition against Associate Justices Teresita Leonardo De Castro, Diosdado Peralta, Lucas Bersamin, Francis Jardeleza and Noel Tijam have all been denied, Acting Chief Justice Antonio Carpio announced before the oral arguments started.
The SC en banc held a session morning of Tuesday, April 10. They will hold at 2 pm oral arguments wherein Sereno will personally testify.
Outside the SC premises in Baguio City, Sereno’s supporters mobilized to call for the inhibition of the justices they call the “Biased 5”.
Referring to their testimonies at the lower house that heard the impeachment complaint against Sereno, a protester said: “Sila na ang complainant, sila pa ang witness, papayag ba tayong sila rin ang hurado?”
(They’re the complainant, they’re also the witness, will we allow them to be the judges as well?)
Sereno’s spokesperson Jojo Lacanilao said: “Hindi po magiging patas ang kanilang pananaw duon, it will be a sad day for judicial fairness na important sa ating lipunan, sa ating constitutional democracy.”
(Their views will not be fair and it will be a sad day for judicial fairness that’s important to our society and constitutional democracy.)
Sereno arrived at the SC past 1:30 pm, but she entered quietly through the side door.
Sereno’s lead counsel Alex Poblador will make an opening statement, but Lacanilao said she is ready to answer questions from justices if called.
There was slight tension when Larry Gadon arrived and was met by boos and chants of “gago” (fool) from the protesters.
Gadon responded by calling them “bobo” (stupid), cursing them and flashing them the middle finger.
Gadon as well as allies from the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC), lawyer Manny Luna, and suspended lawyer Eligio Mallari, have passes to watch the oral arguments from the gallery.