In a pleading, Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno said Supreme Court Associate Justice Samuel Martires should recuse himself from the proceedings after he “insinuated” that her religiosity could be a sign of mental illness when the high court last month heard the “quo warranto” petition filed by Solicitor General Jose Calida.
Efigenio Toledo IV, File
Sereno seeks 'faith-shaming' Martires' inhibition from ouster case
Ian Nicolas Cigaral (philstar.com) - May 5, 2018 - 3:55pm

MANILA, Philippines — Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno on Friday asked “faith-shaming” Supreme Court Associate Justice Samuel Martires to inhibit from proceedings regarding the ouster petition filed against her, saying the magistrate has shown “actual bias” against her.

In a pleading, Sereno said Martires should recuse himself from the proceedings after he “insinuated” that her religiosity could be a sign of mental illness when the high court last month heard the “quo warranto” petition filed by Solicitor General Jose Calida.

Sereno took exception to the following questions asked by Martires to Calida during the hearing: “Would you agree it a mental illness when a person always invokes God as the source of his strength? The source of happiness? The source of everything in life? Is that mental illness?”

According to Sereno, Martires appeared to have made the insinuations even as psychological fitness was not an issue raised in the solicitor general’s petition, which seeks to invalidate her appointment mainly on the grounds of missing wealth declarations.

She said the continued participation of Martires in the case would violate her constitutional right to due process guaranteed under Article III, Section 1 of the 1987 Constitution.

“With due respect, it appears that Justice Martires has formed an opinion on the competence of Respondent (Sereno) to serve as Chief Justice on some basis other than what he learned from his participation in this case,” the chief magistrate said.

“His objectivity and impartiality therefore appears to have been impaired,” she added.

Sereno, the first woman to head the 15-member high court, has become a target of President Rodrigo Duterte’s vitriol, accusing her of being used by his political foes to kick him out of power.

Last month, Duterte vowed to do everything to remove Sereno from the SC, after the country’s top judge asked the firebrand leader to explain his repeated denial that he had no hand in any ouster moves against her even as the government’s chief legal counsel initiated the quo warranto petition.

At present, there are six SC magistrates that Sereno wants to inhibit from her quo warranto case. Earlier, Sereno also asked for the recusal of Associate Justices Teresita Leonardo De Castro, Diosdado Peralta, Lucas Bersamin, Francis Jardeleza and Noel Tijam.

All six justices testified against the embattled Sereno in the impeachment proceeding in the House of Representatives, and took part in the so-called “Red Monday” protest in the SC that called for her resignation.

In the same pleading, Sereno asked the SC en banc to resolve the separate motions to inhibit she had filed without the participation of the challenged six justices, and do it before it renders its decision on the quo warranto petition.

News reports quoting SC insiders said that the high tribunal may likely rule on the quo warranto petition next week, May 11.

MARIA LOURDES SERENO QUO WARRANTO PETITION SAMUEL MARTIRES
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