Serenoâs ouster contributes to deterioration of rule of law, says intâl group of jurists
The granting of a landmark quo warranto petition against Maria Lourdes Sereno adds to the notion that government bodies are unable or unwilling to protect the rule of law and will attack the institutions that protect it, the International Commission of Jurists said.
The STAR/Miguel de Guzman
Sereno’s ouster contributes to deterioration of rule of law, says int’l group of jurists
Gaea Katreena Cabico (Philstar.com) - May 31, 2018 - 10:57am

MANILA, Philippines — The removal of Maria Lourdes Sereno as the country’s chief justice at the hands of her colleagues in the Supreme Court has a hand in the “overall deterioration” of the rule of law in the Philippines, the International Commission of Jurists said.

In a statement, the legal non-governmental organization stressed that the granting of a landmark quo warranto petition against Sereno adds to the notion that government bodies are unable or unwilling to protect the rule of law and will attack the institutions that protect it.

“Preserving the independence of the judiciary in the Philippines is crucial at a time when the government is credibly alleged to have been engaged in widespread and systematic human rights violations, amounting to crimes under international law,” Frederick Rawski, ICJ Asia Pacific Director, said.  

The ICJ warned that the May 11 decision could open the floodgates to similar attacks, not only against members of the court but also to members of other bodies such as the Commission on Human Rights.

It, moreover, called on the Supreme Court to consider Sereno’s motion for reconsideration filed Wednesday “given the perception of political interference and the potential impact of this case on the credibility of the judiciary as a whole.”

In her 205-page appeal, Sereno listed down some of the “constitutional and legal rules and principles and settled judicial precedents” that the historic ruling ignored when it granted Solicitor General Jose Calida’s petition.

READIn appeal of ouster, Sereno warns of 'far-reaching consequences' of SC ruling

ICJ also reminded the Philippine government that under international standards, the judiciary must be able to conduct itself without “improper influences, inducements, pressures, threats or interferences, direct or indirect... for any reason.”

“It is a responsibility of both the judiciary and the political branches of government to ensure that this principle is respected,” it said.

The Supreme Court, voting 8-6, declared void Sereno’s appointment on May 11. 

INTERNATIONAL COMMISSION OF JURISTS MARIA LOURDES SERENO
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