Supreme Court ousts Chief Justice Sereno, 8-6
The Supreme Court on Friday ousted its Chief Justice, Maria Lourdes Sereno, with a vote of 8-6 in special en banc session as they ruled on the quo warranto petition filed by the government.
"Respondent Maria Lourdes P.A. Sereno is found disqualified from and is hereby adjudged guilty of unlawfully holding and exercising the Office of the Chief Justice. Accordingly, respondent Lourdes P.A. Sereno is ousted and excluded therefrom," said a media briefer by the Supreme Court.
"The position of the Chief Justice is declared vacant and the Judicial and Bar Council is directed to commence the application and nomination process," it added.
Solicitor General Jose Calida Jr said the quo warranto petition sought the disqualification and removal of Sereno for her failure to comply with the requirements of the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) of filing 10-year Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth when she applied for top judiciary post in 2012
Sereno, who was appointed Chief Justice in 2012 by President Benigno Aquino III, is the second top magistrate to be removed from office in six years. Her predecessor, the late Renato Corona, was impeached in the Senate in 2012.
Voting against Sereno were Associate Justice Noel Tijam, who wrote the decision, Teresita Leonardo-de Castro, Diosdado Peralta, Lucas Bersamin, Francis Jardeleza, Andres Reyes, Jr., Alexander Gesmundo, and Samuel Martires.
The magistrates who dissented were Associate Justices Antonio Carpio, Presbitero Velasco, Estela Perlas-Bernabe, Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa, Mariano Del Castillo, and Mario Victor Leonen.
Sereno was directed to show case within 10 days after receiving the decision why she should not be sanctioned for violating the Code of Professional Responsibility and the Code of Judicial Conduct for transgressing the sub judice rule and for casting aspersions and ill motives to the members of the Supreme Court.
Hundreds of protesters gathered along Taft Avenue as the news of Sereno's ouster filtered close to noontime. Sereno addressed them and said the justices usurped the power of the Senate to remove her from office.
“I was removed, but the six votes from justices who wanted me to stay in office only shows that I am right in my stand,” Sereno said. “This was the first time in our history that a majority of the members of the Supreme Court booted a colleague of their own out of office,” she said.
In a TV interview, Sereno insists she did not commit any wrongdoing and said her fight is far from over.
"I want to find out what is the basis for their decision. The constitutionalists and law professors were unanimous in saying quo warranto should be used to remove impeachable officials," she said. DMS