MANILA, Philippines - Citing her alleged subservience to the Aquino administration, the camp of former First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo has asked newly installed Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno to inhibit from a case pending before the Supreme Court.
In a 13-page motion filed through lawyers Ferdinand Topacio and Joselito Lomangaya, Arroyo highlighted Sereno’s voting history that may prove damaging to his petition questioning the watch list order earlier issued against him by the Department of Justice.
He cited Sereno’s alleged bias for Aquino who “has shown unwarranted interest in the outcome of the present case.” He fears that Sereno has already prejudged the case.
He cited the cases involving President Benigno Aquino’s Truth Commission, the impeachment of Ombudsman Mercedita Gutierrez, the confidentiality of dollar accounts filed by Philippine Savings Bank, the temporary restraining order in favor of former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, and the release of court records in connection in connection with the impeachment trial of then Chief Justice Renato Corona.
“The Chief Justice has shown that in deciding cases, she has put personal predilections over and above the letter of the law, to the extent of locking horns with the majority. She thus shows that deficiency in the requisite objectivity that should suffuse all the official acts of a judge. If she is to serve her oath well, she has no recourse but to recuse herself; there is no other way,” Arroyo said.
He also noted Sereno’s stand in the case involving Hacienda Luisita, owned by the relatives of Aquino. There, Sereno voted to use a higher valuation for the payment of just compensation for the managers of the sugar estate.
Sereno also earlier revealed certain confidential information on the deliberations of her colleagues in the SC, he noted. This was in connection to the travel ban issued by the DOJ against the former president.
The former First Gentleman said Sereno’s acts “may be a consequence of her having been plucked from relative obscurity and appointed Associate Justice by the sitting President, a debt of gratitude now magnified many times over by her recent appointment as Chief Justice.”