Sereno to face SC justices in ouster vote
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno will face on Friday, May 11, her fellow justices and listen to them vote on her possible ouster.
Sereno arrived at the tightly guarded Supreme Court (SC) just before 8 am on Friday.
Sereno’s camp had earlier said that she will participate in the deliberations of the special en banc session, except for the quo warranto petition to remove her.
The en banc session is expected to start at 10 am.
A court insider said the quo warranto is Number 7 on the agenda. Election matters are expected to be tackled first.
If SC justices vote against Sereno, it will be the first time for the SC to remove its own chief via quo warranto, as it decides on a petition widely criticized for violating Sereno's constitutional right to an impeachment process.
It will push the Constitution to its bounds, and lawyers are worried about a crisis resulting from a potential clash of branches of government.
Senate President Aqulino “Koko” Pimentel III had raised the possibility of questioning the validity of an SC ouster, and asserting the Senate's jurisdiction as an impeachment court.
But statements such as those are inadequate for Sereno supporters, as they call on the Senate to make its stand stronger in asserting its jurisdiction over the impeachment process.
Constitutional law professor Dan Gatmaytan said the Senate could have already challenged the petition before the Supreme Court, but that they may have lost the chance on Friday.
Former Ateneo School of Government dean and lawyer Tony La Viña wrote on Wednesday, May 9: "In the pending quo warranto case, a simple majority of 8 members of the Supreme Court could decide to remove a sitting Chief Justice. That lowers the bar for removing an impeachable official. This effectively judicially amends the Constitution."
Supporters of Sereno gathered early Friday morning in front of the Supreme Court building in Manila to show their support for the Chief Justice.
One of the supporters in Friday’s protests included former education secretary Brother Armin Luistro.
“Ang mga senador ay puwedeng mag-assert ng kanilang constitutional duty, duty ng mga senador to make sure that the impeachment process will see its final end,” Luistro said. (Senators can assert their constitutional duty, it's the duty of senators to make sure that the impeachment process will see its final end.)
Sereno has been the target of criticism of her own colleagues in the Supreme Court, with some of them appearing before the House justice committee to air their grievances. She has been accused of not filing all her Statements of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth as required by law. – Rappler.com