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Philippines' Top Court Ousts Chief Justice, Critic of Duterte's Drug War

Philippines' Top Court Ousts Chief Justice, Critic of Duterte's Drug War”

The Supreme Court voted 8-6 Friday, May 11, to oust Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.

The Chief Justice filed her comment on the quo warranto petition filed by Solicitor General Jose Calida.

"Let the impeachment of the Chief Justice take its course as the Constitution dictates".

"Hence, this decision makes the Solicitor General the most powerful official in the bureaucracy, even more powerful than both the House of Representatives and the Senate insofar as the removal of impeachable officers is concerned", he added.

In September, the House Committee on Justice approved an impeachment complaint against Sereno that alleged she misdeclared assets in her SALNs.

Atty. Larry Gadon filed the second impeachment complaint against Sereno also at the House.

The same pattern is nearly replicated in the quo warranto decision, which disqualified Sereno from holding and exercising the Office of the Chief Justice, as Carpio, Velasco, Del Castillo, Perlas-Bernabe, Leonen and Caguioa all dissented.

Former President Benigno Aquino appointed Sereno in 2012.

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.

"Respondent Maria Lourdes P.A. Sereno is ordered to show cause within ten days from receipt hereof 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".

Associate Justices Mariano del Castillo, Estela Perlas-Bernabe, Marvic Leonen and Benjamin Caguioa all voted not to grant the quo warranto petition and disagreed that it is the proper remedy to remove Sereno from office.

It was a moment of historical firsts. It was also the first time in the history of the Philippines' High Tribunal that a chief justice was removed through a quo warranto plea.



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