SC orders Sereno to appear in oral arguments on quo warranto plea

MANILA The Supreme Court (SC) has ordered Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno to appear in the oral arguments on the quo warranto petition filed by the Office of Solicitor General (OSG) seeking to nullify her appointment.

In a three-page notice of resolution released on Thursday, the high court also required Sereno to "testify under oath" and "verify under oath the truth and veracity of the allegations in the comment filed by counsels supposedly on her behalf."

This Court's jurisdiction to act upon the relief prayed for, if any. Her failure or refusal to so appear shall result in the cancellation of the scheduled oral argument," read the order approved by the magistrates in their summer session in Baguio City last Tuesday.

The SC has set the oral arguments in Baguio City on April 10.

The high court granted Sereno's motion for oral arguments.

Sereno earlier confirmed her attendance to the oral arguments set by the SC.

Yes, CJ (Chief Justice) will attend the oral arguments to answer questions of justices. But her appearance is without prejudice to our jurisdiction challenge, lawyer Jojo Lacanilao, one of Sereno's spokespersons, said in text message sent to reporters.

Sereno has earlier asked the SC to dismiss the OSG's petition on technical grounds, particularly for lack of jurisdiction and violation of the one-year prescription period for the filing of such petitions.

She argued that the SC has no jurisdiction and authority to remove her from office because the 1987 Constitution provides that she could only be ousted by impeachment in Congress as she is an impeachable official.

Sereno, who is currently on indefinite leave, earlier said she is ready to face impeachment proceedings in the Senate anytime soon.

Solicitor General Jose Calida's petition against Sereno stemmed from a letter filed by suspended lawyer Eligio Mallari, urging him to initiate a quo warranto proceeding against the top magistrate.

Last Feb. 21, Mallari, who called Sereno a "de facto chief justice", asked the OSG to initiate a quo warranto proceeding against her.

Under Rule 66 of the Rules of Court, a quo warranto proceeding is an action by the government against a person who unlawfully holds a public office or holds a position where he or she is not qualified.

Calida insisted that a quo warranto proceeding is a "proper remedy to question the validity of Sereno's appointment."

Source: Philippine News Agency