Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez has rejected the call of Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman for 7 Supreme Court judges to inhibit from hearing a a quo warranto petition seeking to remove Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno from office.
"E di naubos 'yung justice[s]. Hindi naman dapat," Alvarez told reporters.
(There would be no judge left then. That should not be the case.)
"Bakit naman sila mag-i-inhibit eh trabaho nila 'yun? Wala naman personal interest yun na involved," he added.
(Why would they inhibit when that is their job? There is no personal interest involved anyway.)
The Office of the Solicitor General filed Monday a quo warranto petitition urging the Supreme Court to nullify Sereno's appointment for failure to declare her wealth in full.
Seven judges should inhibit from the petition as they "figured prominently" in an ouster move against Sereno, which forced her to go on an indefinite leave last week, said opposition lawmaker, Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman.
Six of the 7 justices, he added, testified in the separate impeachment proceedings against Sereno before the House justice committee.
Lagman did not name the justices.
SC Associate Justices Teresita Leonardo-De Castro, Diosdado Peralta, Francis Jardeleza, Noel Tijam, Samuel Martires, Lucas Bersamin and Mariano del Castillo, however, had testified in the impeachment hearings.
Tijam is in charge of the quo warranto petition, which the OSG filed about a week after it was urged to do so by Alvarez.
Alvarez dismissed claims the the petition will spark a new trend in ousting impeachable officials.
"Ang kino-quo warranto [ay] yung validity ng appointment kasi kung talaga namang nag-comply 'yung isang appointee sa lahat ng requirements, paano ka maku-quo warranto?" he reasoned.
(A quo warrant focuses on the validity of an appointment. If an appointee indeed complied with all requirements, why would he or she face a quo warranto petition?)
Sereno, he said, did not comply with the requirements, specifically the submission of Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth, before she assumed office.
The Chief Justice, who had denied any wrongdoing, said she is looking forward to an impeachment trial before the Senate.
Report from RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News