The Supreme Court (SC) has decided to oust Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno on Friday, May 11, more than two months after Solicitor General Jose Calida filed the quo warranto petition against her on the basis of an invalid appointment. Voting 8-6 in a special en banc session, Sereno’s appointment as chief justice was declared as void.
The SJ justices who voted in favor of Sereno’s ouster were Associate Justices Noel Tijam, Teresita De Castro, Lucas Bersamin, Francis Jardeleza, Samuel Martires, Andres Reyes Jr. and Alexander Gesmundo. Sereno attended the en banc, she was asked to step out of the room during the deliberation of the quo warranto petition.
On the other hand, those who voted “No” were Associate Justices Antonio Carpio, Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa, Presbitero Jose Velasco Jr., Mariano Del Castillo, Marvic Leonen, Antonio Carpio, and Estela Bernabe, who is currently out of the country but left a vote against the quo warranto. A press conference was later held to discuss more details.
According to SC spokesman Theodore Te, the order is effective immediately. However, Sereno still has a chance to file a motion for reconsideration, which political analysts believe would be filed shortly after. Nevertheless, she is also facing an impeachment complaint before the House of Representatives, filed by lawyer Lorenzo Gadon.
Sereno, who is being accused of not filing her Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN) for 10 years in 2012, is the first woman to be appointed as chief justice. She was appointed on August 24, 2012 by then- by President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, to replace Renato Corona, was removed from office in May 2012 via impeachment trial.
Now 57, Sereno is the first chief justice to be removed via quo warranto. She is supposed to retire in 2030 once she turns 70. If the ruling is sustained on appeal, President Duterte, who declared Sereno as his enemy last month, is allowed by law appoint a new Chief Justice after candidates are vetted by the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC).