Sereno asks Supreme Court to junk show cause order for criticizing colleagues


Posted at Jun 15 2018 05:06 PM

MANILA - Ousted Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno has asked the Supreme Court to nullify the show cause order against her for publicly criticizing her colleagues, her camp said Friday.

Sereno said her statements were in response to the "attacks" against her in the media and she should not be faulted for explaining her side to the public while the Supreme Court heard the quo warrant petition filed against her by Solicitor General Jose Calida.

“Respondent (Sereno) had to contend with the numerous false and baseless accusations thrown against her all over the media," she said in a statement sent through her lawyers.

"No less than the Solicitor General of the Republic himself repeatedly attacked Respondent and publicly discussed the merits of the petition and even made personal attacks on Respondent, not only through the media but also through his personal social media (Twitter) account," she added.

The high court, in deciding to remove Sereno as top magistrate, ordered its former chief to explain why she should not be sanctioned "for violating the Code of Professional Responsibility and the Code of Judicial Conduct for transgressing the sub judice rule and for casting aspersions and ill motives to the Members of the Supreme Court.”

In her compliance filed through her lawyers, Sereno again called on Associate Justices Teresita Leonardo De Castro, Diosdado Peralta, Lucas Bersamin, Francis Jardeleza, Noel Tijam and Samuel Martires to inhibit from the proceedings on the quo warranto petition against her, saying the magistrates "have shown actual bias and animosity" towards her.

Her camp said after Sereno was denied her rights to be heard at the Senate impeachment court or an "impartial tribunal" where the 6 justices did not participate, she "cannot reasonably be expected to keep her silence despite vigorous assaults on her integrity."

"It would certainly be unjust to punish Respondent for speaking publicly under the circumstances," Sereno said, adding that it would be the “height of injustice” if her calls for fairness would be the basis to remove her.

She also pointed out that she was “directly affected” by the outcome of the case and “cannot be expected to be as circumspect or as detached as a usual legal counsel.” 

“The public utterances in question did not create any serious and imminent threat to the administration of justice,” she said. “In no way did such utterances prevent or delay this Court from rendering its judgment on the petition.”

Sereno said administrative proceedings against judges and lawyers are instituted to "ensure compliance with the canons of professional ethics" stipulated in the Code of Professional Responsibility and the New Code of Judicial Conduct.

The canons included impartiality, which enjoins judges to "disqualify themselves from participating in any proceedings in which they are unable to decide the matter impartially or in which it may appear to a reasonable observer that they are unable to decide the matter impartially," she said.