MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Ousted chief justice Maria Lourdes Sereno is now out of a job.
When the Supreme Court en banc on Friday, May 11, voted 8-6 in favor of a quo warranto petition against her, they essentially ruled she had also lost her seat in the High Court.
SC Spokesman Theodore Te clarified that Sereno “cannot be an associate justice as her seat was vacated and filled by Associate Justice Marvic Leonen. So she’s ousted as chief justice because that’s her only position.”
This was confirmed by other High Court sources, who said that because Sereno’s previous post was already filled up by another appointee, she “cannot go back to her previous position anymore,” which is that of associate justice.
Leonen was appointed on November 12, 2012, after Sereno was chosen chief justice by then-President Benigno Aquino III on August 24, 2012. Appointed at age 52, she was supposed to stay in the Supreme Court as chief magistrate for 18 years but lasted less than 6 years.
Asked by reporters about her position in the Supreme Court after her press conference on Friday, Sereno said, “I haven’t read the decision. Let’s get there, we might find some clue there.”
Asked again if she would push to stay in the Court, Sereno said: “I don’t have any idea yet at this point. Right now, I really concentrated my efforts on fighting two fronts: the quo warranto petition and the impeachment but now that we are entering a new phase, let’s see.”
Besides the quo warranto, the en banc, in a separate vote, declared that Sereno violated the Constitution on account of her failure to file her Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth or SALNs.
On the SALNs issue, 9 justices said Sereno violated the Constitution with her incomplete submissions: Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, associate justices Teresita Leonardo de Castro, Diosdado Peralta, Lucas Bersamin, Francis Jardeleza, Noel Tijam, Samuel Martires, Andres Reyes Jr, and Alexander Gesmundo.
“Respondent Sereno is ordered to show cause within 10 days from receipt hereof why she should not be sanctioned for violating the Code of Professional Responsibility and the Code of Judicial Conduct for transgressing the sub judice rule and for casting aspersions and ill motives to the members of the Supreme Court,” the SC en banc said in its decision.
The charges may be used as bases for her disbarment. – Rappler.com