Decline chief justice nomination, opposition lawmakers tell SC justices who voted vs Sereno

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 26 2018 07:18 PM

MANILA - Supreme Court magistrates who voted for Maria Lourdes Sereno's ouster as chief justice should decline nomination to be her replacement, several opposition lawmakers said Tuesday.

These justices "must not profit from their controversial adverse decision against Sereno," Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman said in a statement.

Lagman said their bloc is planning to file impeachment complaints against these justices and wants them to be disqualified from the nomination or appointment to the top magistrate's post. 

"The impeachment complaints are akin to pending administrative and/or criminal cases which bar appointment in the judiciary," he said.

Eight justices had voted to remove Sereno from her post, granting on May 11 the quo warranto plea that Solicitor General Jose Calida had filed to invalidate her 2012 appointment. 

On June 19, the court affirmed its 8-6 ruling, making the decision final. 

Magistrates who voted to oust Sereno were Associate Justices Teresita Leonardo-De Castro, Diosdado Peralta, Andres Reyes, Jr., Lucas Bersamin, Samuel Martires, Alexander Gesmundo, Noel Tijam, and Francis Jardeleza. 

Akbayan Party-list Rep. Tom Villarin, in a statement, separately said these justices should have some shame and inhibit themselves from applying for the chief justice post, which is "common sense and basic decency."

Villarin said several lawmakers are meeting to finalize the individual complaints against the justices.

The bloc believes only the Senate as an impeachment court could oust Sereno through a two-thirds vote under the 1987 Constitution, as the former magistrate's camp also contends. 

Among those who voted to oust Sereno were justices who also testified against her during impeachment proceedings at the House of Representatives. 

Based on House records, these justices were De Castro, Peralta, Bersamin, Martires, Tijam, Jardeleza, and Reyes. 

Another one who testified, Associate Justice Mariano del Castillo, was among the six who voted against Sereno's removal from the high court.

The Judicial and Bar Council on Monday opened the nomination and vetting process for Sereno's replacement.

The House leadership said last week that the impeachment case against Sereno, which remained pending until the high court ruled with finality on her ouster, would be sent to its archives.