The Philippine Supreme Court (SC) has ousted Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, the first woman to hold the position, after a majority of justices voted in favor of the quo warranto petition against her earlier today.
With President Rodrigo Duterte holding a supermajority of allies in the House of Representatives and now with Sereno’s ousting, he will practically have control over all branches of the government.
The quo warranto petition, filed by Solicitor General Jose Calida in March, challenged Sereno’s appointment as chief justice because she allegedly failed to submit the required Statements of Assets Liabilities and Net worth (SALNs) before being assigned her post in 2o12 — a move Sereno contested.
However, some have said that this should not have been allowed since it was filed after the prescriptive period of one year.
Over 130 faculty members of some of the country’s premier law schools spoke out against the petition in a statement released yesterday, calling it unconstitutional.
“Let the impeachment of the Chief Justice take its course as the Constitution dictates. Let the trial in the Senate sitting as an impeachment court begin. Allow the Chief Justice to defend herself in the impeachment trial,” the statement reads.
In September, the House Committee on Justice approved an impeachment complaint against Sereno that alleged she misdeclared assets in her SALNs.
With eight out of 14 SC justices voting in favor of the quo warranto petition, Sereno’s appointment will be considered null and void, effectively scrapping the impeachment trial.
Last month, Duterte said that Sereno should now consider him her “enemy” and, in the same speech, asked the House of Representatives to “fast track” her impeachment.
Sereno is expected to file a motion for reconsideration.