Palace says SC ouster of Sereno unlikely to be reversed

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 15 2018 12:32 PM

Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Malacañang on Tuesday said it is unlikely for the Supreme Court to reverse its decision in a quo warranto case to oust Maria Lourdes Sereno as the country’s chief justice.

Sereno’s camp has said it will appeal the decision to sack her, saying only one justice would need to change his or her mind in order to reverse the decision.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, however, sees a slim chance of this scenario happening.

“I will not speculate po dahil tanging hukuman lang ang makakasagot. I wish her the best pero with the decision, which is 150 pages, parang mahirap po ata ‘yun dahil mukhang pinag-isipan talaga ng mga mahistrado ang kanilang desisyon,” Roque said in a Palace press briefing.

(I will not speculate because only the high court can answer that. I wish her the best but with the decision, which is 150 pages, that is a tall order because it seems that the justices really thought about it carefully.)

The high court en banc voted 8-6 on Friday to grant Solicitor General Jose Calida's petition to nullify Sereno’s appointment.

Calida argued Sereno was "unlawfully holding" office due to her alleged failure to submit her required Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Net worth (SALNs) when she applied for her post.

In its decision, the SC said its grant of a quo warranto plea to oust Sereno as Chief Justice seeks to ensure that “only qualified individuals” hold public office, asserting that impeachment is not the sole means to remove an impeachable officer.

The SC also allayed fears of a Constitutional crisis and stressed that it decides “based on the merits of a case” and its justices “are beholden to no one” except to the people, amid Sereno’s insinuation and some of her supporters’ allegation that President Rodrigo Duterte was behind the Office of the Solicitor General’s ouster case against her.