Monday, 14 May 2018

SC justices on Sereno's ouster : "Members of the SC are beholden to no one, except to the sovereign Filipino people"

Last week historical move by the magistrates of the Supreme Court in ousting the sitting Chief Justice by way of a quo warranto proceeding will be forever etched in the annals of Philippine history.

As soon as the decision was made to the public, the opposition readily made insinuations that the ouster move were the handiwork of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte- since the Solicitor General Jose Calida is a Duterte appointee.

Claiming that the justices that voted to ouster Chief Justice Maria Lourdes  Sereno, are in Duterte’s payroll is completely no is done right a lie and a direct disrespect for these seasoned justices.

Former Chief Justice Maria Loudes Sereno in front of the Supreme Court (photo credit to owner)
The Supreme Court addressed this issue in its 153-paged decision, written by Associate Justice Tijam. The high court stressed it decides “based on the merits of a case” and its justices “are beholden to no one” except to the people.

Below is the excerpt of the decision.

“In the same vein, insinuations that the Justices of the Supreme Court are towing the line of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte in entertaining the quo warranto petition must be struck for being unfounded and for sowing seeds of mistrust and discordance between the Court and the public. The Members of the Court are beholden to no one, except to the sovereign Filipino people who ordained and promulgated the Constitution. It is thus inappropriate to misrepresent that the Solicitor General who has supposedly met consistent litigation success before the Supreme Court shall likewise automatically and positively be received in the present quo warranto action. 

"That the Court spares the Solicitor General the rod is easily dispelled by the Court's firm orders in G.R. Nos. 234359 and 234484 concerning alleged extra legal killings - a case directly concerning the actuations of the executive department - to provide the Court with documents relative to the Oplan Tokhang operations and by a uninamous vote, rebuked the Solicitor General's plea for reconsideration. Suffice to say that the Court decides based on the merits of a case and not on the actors or the supposed benefactors involved.”

In granting the petition filed by the SolGen, the SC said it found her “ineligible" to hold the Chief Justice post "for lack of integrity on account of her failure to file a substantial number of SALNs and also, her failure to submit the required SALNs to the JBC during her application for the position.”

“[O]ne of the Constitutional duties of a public officer is to submit a declaration under oath of his or her assets, liabilities, and net worth upon assumption of office and as often thereafter as may be required by law. When the Constitution and the law exact obedience, public officers must comply and not offer excuses,” the decision stressed.

"When a public officer is unable or unwilling to comply, he or she must not assume office in the first place, or if already holding one, he or she must vacate that public office because it is the correct and honorable thing to do,” it added.

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Report from ABS-CBN News


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