In a 205-page motion for reconsideration filed with the SC, Serenoâs camp said the high courtâs decision penned by SC Associate Justice Noel Tijam had reversed settled legal doctrines and principles, resulting in âinherent inconsistencies in the courtâs conclusions of law and evaluation of evidence.â Seven other justices concurred with the decision.
In a 205-page motion for reconsideration filed with the SC, Sereno’s camp said the high court’s decision penned by SC Associate Justice Noel Tijam had reversed settled legal doctrines and principles, resulting in “inherent inconsistencies in the court’s conclusions of law and evaluation of evidence.” Seven other justices concurred with the decision.
AP Photo/Bullit Marquez
SC quo warranto ruling full of errors — Sereno
Evelyn Macairan (The Philippine Star) - June 3, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Supreme Court ruling ousting Maria Lourdes Sereno as chief magistrate is riddled with legal and factual errors and should be reversed, her lawyers said in her motion for reconsideration.

In a 205-page motion for reconsideration filed with the SC, Sereno’s camp said the high court’s decision penned by SC Associate Justice Noel Tijam had reversed settled legal doctrines and principles, resulting in “inherent inconsistencies in the court’s conclusions of law and evaluation of evidence.” Seven other justices concurred with the decision.

“Basic, fundamental, and long-standing constitutional and legal rules and principles, and settled judicial precedents, were ignored, set aside, and reversed by the majority decision, to achieve one end—the disqualification and ouster of the Chief Justice,” Sereno said in her motion filed through her lawyers led by Alex Poblador.

In her motion, Sereno questioned Tijam’s handling of the petition as member-in-charge, saying he may have prejudged the case.

She pointed out that footnotes in Tijam’s 153-page ponencia showed that the decision was drafted as early as March 15, or four days before she even submitted her comment to the quo warranto petition in the afternoon of March 19. It was Solicitor General Jose Calida who filed the petition.

According to the footnotes, the drafting of the decision had already commenced and certain websites and online articles used in the ponencia had already been “visited” on March 15 and March 19, the same date Sereno submitted her comment.

“These show that respondent never had a chance from the start. Justice Tijam had condemned respondent before he heard her,” Sereno’s motion read.

Tijam also allegedly took cognizance of several pieces of evidence submitted by neither party.

She cited as an example Tijam’s mentioning in his ponencia Sereno’s July 23, 2012 letter to the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) explaining her submission of her statements of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALNs) as SC magistrate, and not as University of the Philippines professor. 

Such finding, she stressed, was not based on any evidence on record. A footnote in the decision indicated it was based on a letter dated April 6, 2018 sent by JBC executive officer Annaliza Ty-Capacite to Tijam’s office, in response to his request made through a phone call.

Sereno questioned the propriety of Tijam making a phone call to a JBC official to inquire about a matter that was not presented as evidence by any of the parties in the quo warranto case.

“That the ponente made or caused such a call to be made is not allowed and shows prejudice. If a judge who suggested to a party what evidence it should present was held to have ‘transgressed the boundaries of impartiality,’ with all the more reason should a Justice who motu proprio looked for and considered evidence which neither party submitted be held to have transgressed such bounds,” she added.

Tijam is one of six magistrates Sereno had asked to inhibit reportedly for being biased and prejudiced as shown by their animosity towards her at the impeachment hearings at the House of Representatives.

The five others are Associate Justices Teresita Leonardo-de Castro, Diosdado Peralta, Lucas Bersamin, Francis Jardeleza and Samuel Martires.

All six justices voted to grant the quo warranto petition, along with Associate Justices Andres Reyes Jr. and Alexander Gesmundo.

MARIA LOURDES SERENO QUO WARRANTO
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