As a former law professor, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said he thinks that the ruling made the “distinction between quo warranto and impeachment as a mode of removing a justice” of the SC.
Presidential Photo/Toto Lozano
Guevarra: Quo warranto ruling 'correct' but clarification needed on ouster of impeachable officers
Kristine Joy Patag ( - June 21, 2018 - 3:25pm

MANILA, Philippines — For Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, the Supreme Court ruling on the government’s quo warranto petition was “correct,” but he stressed that amendments are needed to clarify the rule on “impeachable officers.”

Guevarra, in an interview with CNN Philippines’ “The Source,” said he respects the SC’s final decision and would not want to fan the flames of controversy on the landmark ruling that resulted in the ouster of Maria Lourdes Sereno as chief justice.

“But if I may suggest, in order to avoid a similar situation in the future, now that [the] Constitution is proposed to be amended, we rather make it very clear in the Constitution that the only way only way to remove impeachable officers would be by impeachment,” Guevarra said.

As a former law professor, he said he thinks that the ruling made the “distinction between quo warranto and impeachment as a mode of removing a justice” of the SC.

On Tuesday, the SC voted to reaffirm its earlier ruling on Solicitor General Jose Calida’s legal challenge to Sereno’s appointment as chief justice.

Much of the contention on the historic decision centered on its unconstitutionality as Sereno and various law groups insisted that a chief justice could only be ousted through an impeachment case.

But the SC, in the decision penned by Associate Justice Noel Tijam, backed Calida’s argument that his petition runs on a different track from an impeachment case—the jurisdiction of which is vested in Congress.

Calida’s quo warranto petition is anchored on Sereno’s failure to submit her Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth to the Judicial and Bar Council when she applied as chief justice in 2012. This, according to Calida and as affirmed by the SC ruling, constituted to Sereno’s “lack of integrity” needed to hold the position as head of the Judiciary.

For Guevarra, a clarification on the matter is needed.

“Otherwise the [SC] may change the rules of court pertaining to quo warranto and make it very clear likewise that even impeachable officers may be subjected to quo warranto,” the justice chief added.

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