Ateneo calls for support to overturn Sereno ouster

Paterno Esmaquel II
Ateneo calls for support to overturn Sereno ouster
'May pagkakataon pa na itama ang pagkakamaling ito,' says Ateneo de Manila University president Father Jose Ramon Villarin, SJ

MANILA, Philippines – Ateneo de Manila University president Father Jose Ramon Villarin, SJ, called for support to overturn the ouster of former chief justice Maria Lourdes Sereno through a motion for reconsideration before the Supreme Court (SC). 

May pagkakataon pa na itama ang pagkakamaling ito (There is still time to correct this mistake),” Villarin said in a memo to the Ateneo community on Thursday, May 17.

Villarin urged the Ateneo community to convince the SC and the Filipino people to support the motion for reconsideration to be filed with the High Court in the next few days. 

He also told them to persuade Congress to assert its right to subject Sereno to impeachment proceedings.

Binatikos ng ating Panginoong Hesus ang mga Pariseo at Eskriba sa kanilang bulag at makitid na pagsunod sa letra ng batas. Ang tamang pagsunod sa batas ay pagsunod sa letra at diwa nito. Sundan lang natin ang tamang proseso ayon sa pinakadiwa ng batas upang hindi tayo malihis ng landas,” Villarin said.

(Our Lord Jesus criticized the Pharisees and Scribes for their blind and narrow obedience to the letter of the law. The right way of heeding the law is following its letter and its spirit. Let us follow the right process according to the spirit of the law so that we will not take the wrong path.)

Checks and balances

Villarin called on the Ateneo community to uphold judicial independence and the principle of checks and balances in government. 

Tawag ng panahon na itaguyod natin ang tunay na demokrasya (It’s the call of the times for us to uphold genuine democracy),” he said. 

Sereno, 57, was an economics graduate of the Ateneo de Manila University in 1980, before she took up law at the University of the Philippines. 

Villarin, 58, was a physics graduate of the Ateneo de Manila University also in 1980. He was the class valedictorian.

Villarin issued his latest statement after the SC on May 11 ousted Sereno by granting a quo warranto petition against her.

The quo warranto petition stated that Sereno’s appointment was invalid because she did not submit her complete statements of assets, liabilities, and net worth (SALN) to the Judicial and Bar Council, which screens appointees to the judiciary.

In an earlier statement on April 14, Villarin already urged the SC to junk the quo warranto petition against Sereno. He said the quo warranto petition “circumvents the clear dictates of the Constitution.”  

After Sereno was ousted, Ateneo students were among those who joined the earliest protests. – 

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Paterno Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He obtained his MA Journalism degree from Ateneo and later finished MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at