MANILA (UPDATED) - Lawyers who first sought a quo warranto petition against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno are urging her to resign to further speed up the process of having her removed from office.
Lawyer Manuelito Luna, representing suspended lawyer Eligio Mallari, said Sereno should voluntarily resign ahead of any action by the Supreme Court on their petition.
Before Solicitor General Jose Calida filed the petition at the Supreme Court, Mallari wrote Calida asking for the filing of the petition, calling Sereno a “de facto chief justice.”
“She should accept that fact with honor and dignity dahil kahit gaano kasakit, this is a battle she will definitely lose,” Luna said.
Asked why they do not want to see the end result of their petition, Luna said Sereno should help protect the integrity of the Supreme Court which he says is slowly eroding.
“As the days pass by, she is causing damage to the institution, to the Supreme Court,” Luna said.
Mallari said that Sereno knew from the very beginning that she is not qualified to lead the high tribunal for not submitting the required Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth to the Judicial and Bar Council.
“She has been a liar from the date of filing of her application for chief justice of the Supreme Court,” Mallari said.
Sereno, who has taken a leave from her duties at the Supreme Court, has consistently rejected calls for her resignation.
"I have not resigned and I will not resign. This indefinite leave is not a resignation. I will devote my time to the preparation of my Senate defense and work on the cases in my docket," she said in a
Lawyer Josa Deinla, a spokesperson for the Chief Justice, has previously said that the attempt to remove Sereno from office through a quo warranto proceeding has no basis and will flounder.
"This has absolutely no basis in law and in the constitution.
The only way by which the Supreme Court chief justice may be removed from office is through impeachment," Deinla said.
Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez has also indicated that the impeachment hearings will give way to the quo warranto petition.
Luna said that he is confident the Supreme Court will act positively on their petition.
“Hindi papayagan ng Korte Suprema na masisira ang hudikatura just because of one member,” he said.