Former associate justice Eduardo Nachura said a quo warranto petition only questions the validity of the title of a person holding public office but cannot be used to oust a sitting official.
Michael Varcas
Ex-justice: Quo warranto can’t oust impeachable official
Robertzon Ramirez (The Philippine Star) - April 13, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Any impeachable official cannot be removed from his or her post through a quo warranto petition, a former justice of the Supreme Court (SC) said yesterday. 

Former associate justice Eduardo Nachura said a quo warranto petition only questions the validity of the title of a person holding public office but cannot be used to oust a sitting official. 

“What is a quo warranto? Quo warranto is a process that attacks the validity of the title of a person to a public office … he is not to be removed. It is as if there is no appointment in the first place,” Nachura said.

Nachura though explained a quo warranto petition can be used against an incumbent impeachable official “to question the right of a public officer to continue holding a public office if there is an irregularity to the title.” 

“The use of the word ‘remove’ is not correct,” Nachura said when asked if a quo warranto petition can be used to remove the Chief Justice. 

As far as filing of a quo warranto case is concerned, Nachura said anybody could file the case, not only a government official but a private citizen who claims to have a better title than the one occupying the position. 

On the quo warranto case filed by Solicitor General Jose Calida against Chief Justice-on-leave Maria Lourdes Sereno, Nachura said the petition was filed because of her alleged invalid title. 

“When the solicitor general files that in behalf of the Republic of the Philippines as a lawyer of the government, why? Because if a public official holds a public office with an invalid title, the government sustains an injury,” he said. 

But Nachura emphasized his statement pertaining to a quo warranto case has nothing to do with the case filed by Calida against Sereno, as he is discussing the quo warranto petition in general.

Calida filed a quo warranto case against Sereno last month, asking the SC justices to void her appointment and eventually oust her from office due to alleged failure to file statement of assets liabilities and net worth (SALN).

The SC has already started the oral arguments on the quo warranto petition filed against Sereno. 

Nachura discussed the quo warranto in a press conference pertaining to the developments in the consultative committee (Concom) meeting of the members.

He said the Concom’s sub-committee, tasked to review the function of the judiciary, is studying to create three equal high courts: the SC, a constitutional court and an administrative tribunal. 

Nachura said the issues on the impeachment cases against impeachable officials may be given to the constitutional court – a court that will rule on the constitutional issues of the land. 

He also said the impeachment body may no longer be the Senate or the House, but would still depend on the discussion of the sub-committee tasked to discuss the accountability of public officials. 

The Concom is set to discuss the functions of the judiciary branch of the government next week. 

QUO WARRANTO SUPREME COURT
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