MANILA (UPDATE) - Supreme Court justices on Tuesday decided to hold oral arguments on the quo warranto plea that seeks to oust Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno from her post.
The High Court set oral arguments on April 10 in Baguio City during its summer sessions, according to a briefer from the court’s information office.
Sereno was also directed by her colleagues to personally attend and answer questions from the Court en banc.
It would mark the first time that a sitting Chief Justice would take such questioning from her high court colleagues if this pushes through.
Lawyer Jojo Lacanilao, a spokesperson for Sereno, said the chief magistrate's camp is not surprised by the call for oral arguments since they "somehow" expected it.
"We feel that we have a good defense [against] the petition for quo warranto by the Solicitor General...," he told ANC on Tuesday.
Lacanilao also reiterated Sereno's argument that an impeachment proceeding is the proper way to remove a sitting Chief Justice.
The Office of the Solicitor General had filed the quo warranto petition to nullify Sereno's appointment, citing her alleged failure to fully disclose her wealth before applying for the chief magistrate post.
Sereno, the country's first female Chief Justice, had urged the Supreme Court to dismiss the Solicitor General's petition, arguing that she can only be removed via impeachment.
The top magistrate is facing an impeachment complaint filed by lawyer Lorenzo Gadon on allegations of culpable violation of the Constitution, betrayal of public trust, and other high crimes.
The draft articles of impeachment against her were approved by the House justice committee, voting 33-1, last March 19.
Sereno was appointed to the high court in 2012 by President Benigno Aquino III following the ouster of the late chief magistrate Renato Corona, who was found guilty by the Senate impeachment court of misdeclaring his wealth.
Sereno is expected to stay in her post until her retirement at 70 in 2030.
She took an indefinite leave last month to prepare for the impeachment proceedings.