MANILA - Supreme Court Associate Justice Marvic Leonen on Friday said the ouster plea against former Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno was a “legal abomination” that should have not been entertained by the High Court.
“This Petition should have been dismissed outright and not given due course. It does not deserve space in judicial deliberation within our constitutional democratic space,” said Leonen, among 6 magistrates who voted to junk the plea.
“Even if the Chief Justice has failed our expectations, quo warranto, as a process to oust an impeachable officer and a sitting member of the Supreme Court, is a legal abomination,” he said in a statement.
Eight justices voted in favor of the quo warranto petition that sought to nullify Sereno’s appointment as top magistrate.
The petition was filed by Solicitor General Jose Calida earlier this year, 6 years after Sereno was named Chief Justice in 2012.
Calida alleged that Sereno failed to file the required statements of assets, liabilities and net worth when she applied for the post.
Leonen warned of the repercussions of the ruling.
“We render this Court subservient to an aggressive Solicitor General. We render those who present dissenting opinions unnecessarily vulnerable to powerful interests,” Leonen said.
“It creates a precedent that gravely diminishes judicial independence and threatens the ability of this Court to assert the fundamental rights of our people,” he said.
Leonen said the decision against Sereno “further empowers the privileged, the powerful, and the status quo.”
Sereno earlier said she does not harbor ill-feelings against her collegues who voted for her removal from office, but added she would like to know the basis of their votes.
“I want to find out kung ano ang basis nung walo (for their decision)... Hindi mo talaga maisip kung anong puwersa ang nangyari,” she told ABS-CBN News.