Vice President Leni Robredo and President Rodrigo Duterte attended the graduation rites of PMA Alab-Tala Class of 2018, held at Fort del Pilar, Baguio City on March 18, 2017.
Office of the Vice President, File
Slamming SC ouster of Sereno, Robredo vows fight not yet over
Audrey Morallo (philstar.com) - May 11, 2018 - 2:42pm

MANILA, Philippines — Vowing that the fight is not yet over, Vice President Leni Robredo on Friday slammed the decision of the Supreme Court to oust Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno—a move which she said tarnished the country’s Constitution.

In a televised address, Robredo said she is concerned with the landmark ruling of the high court and stressed that the only means to remove an impeachable officer such as Sereno was through impeachment.

“As vice president, I am assuring you: the fight is not yet over especially because the voting was close in a far-reaching decision such as this,” Robredo said in Filipino.

The Supreme Court, voting 8-6 in a special full court session Friday, ousted Sereno supposedly because of her failure to meet the “integrity test” of her position, despite widespread warnings that the move would trigger a constitutional crisis.

Eight of the justices sided with Solicitor General Jose Calida who filed the quo warranto petition questioning the legality of former President Benigno Aquino III’s appointment of Sereno as chief justice in 2012.

The ruling is immediately executory.

Those who voted to oust Sereno were Justices Noel Tijam, who wrote the decision, Teresita De Castro, Lucas Bersamin, Francis Jardeleza, Samuel Martires, Andres Reyes Jr. and Alexander Gesmundo.

Before the ruling, Sereno asked six of these justices to inhibit from her case because of their bias against her. Those asked to inhibit denied the plea of the chief justice.

Justices Antonio Carpio, Estela Bernabe, Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa, Presbitero Velasco Jr., Mariano Del Castillo and Marvic Leonen dissented from the ruling.

Robredo said that the decision “compromised” the foundation of the country’s judiciary and asked where Filipinos could turn to if they needed justice and a fair fight.

“Where will we go to if the integrity of the institution we are leaning on has been tarnished?” Robredo said.

She urged the Filipino people to take all the appropriate means to correct what she called a mistake to restore the public’s confidence in the court.

Robredo’s critical statement is expected as she has expressed her support to the chief justice in the past, putting her at odds with the position of President Rodrigo Duterte who has called on his allies to remove Sereno.

According to Dennis Coronacion of the University of Santo Tomas Department of Political Science, Robredo’s support for Sereno can become “politically beneficial” for her as the public will see her stand on many issues.

Coronacion said that Robredo should not be afraid of losing a government position or the threats of impeachment by Duterte’s allies when criticizing government policies.

Related video:

LENI ROBREDO MARIA LOURDES SERENO QUO WARRANTO PETITION RODRIGO DUTERTE SUPREME COURT
As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: May 15, 2018 - 9:41am

An insider source of The STAR says the decision on Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno's quo warranto was already signed by seven justices ahead of this morning's special en banc session.

Court observers said that based on the April 10 oral arguments on the quo warranto petition against Sereno, it seemed that majority of the justices were inclined to vote for the removal of the head magistrate.

READ: How the quo warranto petition vs Sereno could affect the judiciary

— with Edu Punay

May 15, 2018 - 9:41am

The Coalition for Justice urges the Senate to take a collective stand against the Supreme Court decision ousting Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno by asserting its exclusive right to remove impeachable officials.

“We respectfully ask you to remind the Supreme Court that the Senate's sole power over impeachable officers must not be impugned by a co-equal branch of government,” the CFJ says in an open letter to senators.

“If the Decision remains unchallenged and the Senate's duty is unperformed, the dire fallout on our system and people will lie at the Senate's door,” it warns.

May 12, 2018 - 9:40am

New York-based Human Rights Watch slams the “unprecedented and nefarious” removal of Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, whom President Rodrigo Duterte calls his “enemy” that must leave the Supreme Court.

“Sereno’s ouster also kicks open the door for wanton removals of members of other constitutional bodies, such as the Commission on Human Rights,” HRW says in a statement.

“Ultimately, the rejection of constitutional checks and balances concentrates power in the hands of Duterte and his allies, posing the greatest danger to democracy in the Philippines since the Marcos dictatorship,” it adds.

May 11, 2018 - 7:24pm

The Supreme Court releases the full text of the decision on the quo warranto petition against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, whose appoinment to her post was deemed invalid earlier today.

Read the full decision here.

May 11, 2018 - 12:40pm

Sen. Sonny Angara makes a stand that ousting a chief justice is not a decision for a Supreme Court to make.

"I do not agree with the decision because impeachment is the only constitutional route for removal of a Chief Justice, but we acknowledge that the Court has spoken," Angara says in a statement.

"The ripple effect of the decision may be felt in the coming months and years. I pray that wisdom and sobriety prevail in the future for the good of the country and our people," he adds.

May 11, 2018 - 12:28pm

Solicitor General Jose Calida, who filed the quo warranto petition against Sereno, lauds the SC's decision to oust Sereno.

Here's his full statement:
 

 

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