Solon mulls impeachment vs. 8 SC justices in Sereno ouster

MANILA A party-list lawmaker mulls to file impeachment complaints against the eight Supreme Court (SC) justices who voted to grant a quo warranto petition that disqualified Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.

In a press conference on Thursday, Akbayan Rep. Tom Villarin said the impeachment cases against the eight magistrates would be based on the ground of culpable violation of the Constitution.

Villarin, who is also part of the independent bloc called Magnificent 7, said Sereno's ouster through a quo warranto usurps the powers of Congress, noting that the Constitution provides that the top magistrate can only be removed through an impeachment.

Those who voted to grant the quo warranto petition against Sereno were Associate Justices Teresita Leonardo-de Castro, Diosdado Peralta, Lucas Bersamin, Francis Jardeleza, Samuel Martires, Andres Reyes Jr., Alexander Gesmundo, and Noel Tijam who penned the Court's decision.

Last week, the High Court, voting 8-6, granted the quo warranto petition filed by Solicitor General Jose Calida seeking to nullify the appointment of Sereno.

"The petition for quo warranto is granted, respondent Maria Lourdes PA Sereno is found disqualified from and is hereby adjudged guilty of unlawfully holding and exercising the office of the Chief Justice. Accordingly, respondent Maria Lourdes PA Sereno is ousted and excluded therefrom," the court decision said.

The High Court also announced that the position of Chief Justice is declared vacant and that the Judicial and Bar Council should begin the application and nomination process for Sereno's replacement.

Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano said the eight SC justices committed an impeachable offense and the filing of impeachment cases could serve as a remedy to the quo warranto "mistake."

Alejano said the Magnificent 7 will issue a formal statement regarding this matter next week during its regular media briefing.

"Thus, we strongly believe that the filing of impeachment complaints against the justices is the only viable remedy to correct this mistake and save the integrity of the Supreme Court before the Filipino people," Alejano said.

"As opposed to what the justices had exercised, we want to follow the legal way based on what is provided for in the Constitution," he added. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency