The 40,000-strong Integrated Bar of the Philippines insisted that the Supreme Court should junk the petition for quo warranto against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno as she can only be ousted through impeachment.

The STAR/Boy Santos
IBP urges SC to junk petition for quo warranto vs Sereno
Kristine Joy Patag ( - March 23, 2018 - 2:14pm
MANILA, Philippines — The Integrated Bar of the Philippines is the latest to ask the Supreme Court to junk the petition for quo warranto against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.
The 40,000-strong IBP on Friday asked the SC to allow their opposition-in-intervention against Solicitor General Jose Calida's petition that seeks the nullification of Sereno's appointment as chief justice.
The IBP, through its president Abdiel Dan Elijah Fajardo, argued that Sereno could only be removed through impeachment as stated by the 1987 Constitution.
"[T]he Constitution admits of no other mode of removal of impeachable officers for impeachable offenses is clear from the text of Article XI, Section 2," the IBP said.
The said provision of the Constitution provides that the "President, the Vice-President, the Members of the Supreme Court, the Members of the Constitutional Commissions, and the Ombudsman may be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, culpable violation of the Constitution, treason, bribery, graft and corruption, other high crimes, or betrayal of public trust."
Calida sought the SC to nullify Sereno's appointment in 2012 as chief justice, arguing that Sereno "flunked the test of integrity" when she failed to meet the Judicial and Bar Council's requirement for submission of her Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth.
On Thursday, two groups also filed their motions urging the high court to dismiss Calida's petition. 

'Sereno deemed qualified by JBC, president'

The group of lawyers also stressed that Sereno was deemed qualified for a position at the high court by the JBC, mandated by the Constitution to screen applicants for the bench, twice.
"The first being her appointment as an Associate Justice in 2010 and the second being her appointment as Chief Justice in 2012. Both instances are deliberate exercises of specific constitutional power, the parameters of which are defined by the actors, not by outsiders," the IBP said.
"To impose the subjective judgment of an outsider to the process confined by the Constitution to specific actors would enable an intrusion that the Constitution neither defines or allows," the IBP added.

Calida's case

Central to Calida's argument is Sereno's failure to submit 10 of her SALNs when she applied for the position in 2012. During the probable cause hearing on Sereno's impeachment case by the House justice panel, it was raised that the chief justice only submitted three of her SALNs.
But the IBP noted that the JBC accepted Sereno's letter explaining that some of her SALNs could not be located by the University of the Philippines. 
The acceptance of Sereno's letter and her inclusion on the short list presented to then-President Benigno Aquino III "carries the weight of its constitutional duty, which in the absences of any clear indication, as in this case, cannot be overturned on the mere subjective judgment of outsiders," the JBC said.
Sereno has been on an indefinite leave since March 1. She said that this is in preparation for her looming impeachment trial at the Senate.

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