MANILA—Several bishops slammed the decision of the majority of Supreme Court justices to oust Maria Lourdes Sereno as the chief justice.
Novaliches Bishop Emeritus Teodoro Bacani, one of framers of the 1987 Constitution, said Sereno's ouster through the quo warranto petition was a clear violation of the charter.
"It is a sad day for democracy in the Philippines and it is a very sad day for the Supreme Court," the bishop said in an interview with Radio Veritas.
Bacani insisted that the constitution is clear in saying that the chief justice, like the president, can only be removed through impeachment.
"It is a sad day for the Philippines. It has weakened our chief protector of our democracy which is none other than the Supreme Court. I am very sorry for what happened," the bishop added.
Cagayan de Oro Archbishop Antonio Ledesma said that it's a "sad day for the separation of power and democratic system."
For Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo, it is time for Filipinos to stand up against the executive department's blatant attempt to control the judiciary, a co-equal branch of the government.
Earlier, Malacañang insisted that it had nothing to do with the quo warranto petition filed against the chief justice and impeachment complaint pending at the House of Representatives.
Ozamis Archbishop Martin Jumoad said: "We urge our people to stay calm and more prayers for the Holy Spirit to enlighten all of us. No to violence and yes to peace."
In an unprecedented move, the Supreme Court voting 8-6, moved to oust Sereno by granting the quo warranto plea filed by Solicitor General Jose Calida.
The petition argued that Sereno was "unlawfully holding" office due to her alleged failure to submit her required Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Net worth when she applied for the position.
Sereno is expected to file a motion for reconsideration.
Sereno, the first woman to hold the top post in the judiciary, was supposed to stay in her post until her retirement at age 70 in 2030.