MANILA The 'quo warranto' petition filed before the Supreme Court (SC) against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno was unprecedented, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said on Monday.
Well, let's just say, this is unprecedented, Roque said when asked by the media about his opinion on Solicitor General Jose Calida's petition questioning Sereno's qualifications for the position of chief justice.
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, Roque, a lawyer, added.
Roque said even President Rodrigo Duterte deferred Calida's quo warranto petition to the decision of the high tribunal.
That's now within the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court. It would be a contumacious act if we speculate on how the SC will decide either way. So let's stop there, he said.
He added that Malacanang will also leave it to Congress to determine whether there are enough grounds to impeach Sereno.
Roque, however, assured that Malacanang will stand by to its constitutional duty to enforce the SC decision whatever it may be.
The Palace official said problems hounding the judiciary were just a sign that justice system works in the country.
When 13 of the magistrates themselves vote that the Chief Justice should go on an indefinite leave that means the justice system is well and healthy and alive in the Philippines. Probably it should be heeded, Roque said.
Roque said he would no longer call on Sereno to resign to spare the judiciary from further damage arising from petitions to remove her.
I'm sorry to say that since we made the recommendation, it has since been rejected. So we said, henceforth, our position will be: we leave it to Congress to decide. The position has remained the same. Four or five months ago, we made a suggestion; she rejected, so be it, he explained.
Sereno reportedly took an indefinite leave on March 1 following a high court en banc consensus that the top magistrate should take an indefinite leave.
Source: Philippine News Agency