Respect SC decision vs Sereno, Palace tells IBP

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 13 2018 08:49 PM

MANILA - Malacañang on Wednesday urged the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) to respect the decision of the Supreme Court (SC) in a quo warranto petition that led to the ouster of Maria Lourdes Sereno as chief justice.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said while the IBP filed a motion for reconsideration to the high court decision, it may no longer have a standing on the case.

“Ang aking panawagan sa mga kapatid sa hanapbuhay, respetuhin talaga natin ang desisyon ng Korte Suprema. Sa ngayon po, pupuwede sigurong mag-file ng Motion for Reconsideration. Pero sa akin po, wala silang standing ‘no dahil ang apektado naman dito talaga si Chief Justice ‘no,” said Roque, a lawyer by profession, in an interview on state-run Radyo Pilipinas.

(My appeal to my fellow lawyers is to respect the decision of the Supreme Court. They may file a motion for reconsideration, but for me they no longer have a standing on the case because it is the former chief justice who is directly affected.)

Roque said the SC will no longer reverse its decision on the case. He urged Filipino lawyers to lead the public in accepting the high court’s decision instead of questioning it.

In a motion for reconsideration, the IBP, the country's only compulsory organization of lawyers, said the high court failed to be impartial when when it made "its own evidence gathering expedition" in the case. 

"The Honorable Court failed to maintain the cold neutrality of an impartial judge when it engaged in its own evidence gathering expedition and sought to supplement the evidence already on record," the IBP said in its plea.

"The Honorable Court not only assumed the role of a trial court, it even became an advocate and assisted the petitioner in discharging its burden of proof," it said. 

In the May 11 landmark ruling, 8 of 6 Supreme Court magistrates voted to grant Solicitor General Jose Calida's "quo warranto" petition seeking to invalidate Sereno's 2012 appointment.

The high court also said in the ruling that it denied IBP's previous motion for intervention because its interest in the case is merely out of "sentimental desire" to uphold the rule of law. 

But IBP President Abdiel Dan Fajardo is hoping the Supreme Court would recognize them this time. He said the IBP maintains that the only way to oust a chief justice is through impeachment. 

"I think the IBP made its strong position that as advocates of rule of law, we certainly have a stake on this," he told ANC.

Sereno has appealed her ouster, insisting that the decision to remove her by granting a "quo warranto" petition is "null and void."

The high court has also ordered Calida to comment on the motion for reconsideration filed by Sereno.