Palace awaits Supreme Court decision on petition vs Sereno

CHIEF Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno's refusal to back down might impede the Supreme Court's performance, Malacañang said Monday, March 5.

"Her (Sereno) continued stay in office may not be good for the institution," Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. said, shortly after the Office of Solicitor General urged the High Court to nullify Sereno's appointment.

Earlier Monday, March 5, Solicitor General Jose Calida filed a petition for quo warranto before the Supreme Court, questioning Sereno's "unlawful" appointment.

Calida argued that Sereno lacks integrity for failing to submit her Statement of of Assets, Liabilites, and Net worth (SALN) within the 10-year mandated period when she applied for the Chief Justice post in 2012.

He said the embattled Chief Justice's failure to fully disclose her SALNs showed her "lack of integrity," a ground to declare that she is "unlawfully" holding the highest position in the Supreme Court.

Calida's move to ask Sereno's colleagues to remove her from office was described by Malacañang as "unprecedented."

"(Filing of petition against Sereno before the Supreme Court) is unprecedented," Roque said.

"While the normal rule is that impeachable officers can only be removed through impeachment, the petitioners, who I believe are fully cognizant of this doctrine, probably feel that under the circumstance, the general rule should not be applicable. So let’s wait for the decision of the Supreme Court," he added.

Sereno has gone on leave as she faced a possible impeachment trial at the Senate for purportedly misdeclaring her assets, bypassing colleagues, and enjoying an extravagant life by using taxpayers' money.

The House of Representatives is expected to vote this week and determine probable cause in the impeachment complaint lodged against Sereno by lawyer Larry Gadon.

Gadon, in his petition, accused Sereno of alleged culpable violation of the Constitution, corruption, high crimes, and betrayal of public trust.

If one-third of House lawmakers vote in favor of Sereno's impeachment, Sereno will face trial before the Senate.

Roque said the Palace would merely await either the decision of the Supreme Court or Congress, with regard to Sereno's fate.

"We have consistently taken the view that we leave it to Congress to remove the Chief Justice if there are grounds to do so. Now that a petition has been filed in court—I think there are two petitions now pending in court, we leave it to the Supreme Court to resolve these two separate petitions," he said. (SunStar Philippines)
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