The Philippines: IBP: Only Senate can unseat Chief Justice

May 13, 2018

Only the Senate, assembled as an impeachment court, has the power to oust an incumbent justice of the Supreme Court (SC), the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) said.

In a statement, IBP president Abdiel Dan Elijah Fajardo stressed that the group stands firm that a member of the SC can only be removed through impeachment and not by a quo warranto petition.

“This is pursuant to our position that only the Senate, assembled as an impeachment court, has the power to dismiss an incumbent justice of the Supreme Court on questions pertaining to his or her alleged lack of integrity,” said Fajardo.

Maria Lourdes Sereno was ousted as chief justice through an 8-6 vote during a special en banc session on Friday, favoring the quo warranto petition that Solicitor General Jose Calida has filed.

Sereno is the first SC chief justice removed from position not by impeachment. The IBP seeks the reversal of the landmark ruling. (TAGALOG) (CHINESE)

Press Statement
May 12, 2018

By the Movement Against Tyranny

Given the widespread, vehement objection to the ouster of Chief Justice Lourdes Sereno yesterday, the Supreme Court should realize its mistake and immediately take steps to reverse its despicable ruling on the quo warranto case filed against their colleague.

The following are the most odious aspects of the SC ruling:

1. It gave due course to a petition that was prohibited under the one-year ban on quo warranto cases;

2. It violated the Constitutional provision on impeachment as the means to remove members of the High Court;

3. It effectively deprived the Senate of its Constitutional mandate to try Sereno for alleged impeachable offenses, including those cited in the quo warranto case;

4. It strikes a big blow to judicial independence, the separation of powers and system of checks and balances among the Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches of government;

5. It makes all sitting justices and judges of the Courts constantly vulnerable to threats and political pressure from the Executive;

6. Six of the eight justices who voted against Sereno had shown manifest bias against her but refused to inhibit themselves from the case.

The justices of the Supreme Court should repair this self-inflicted attack on the institution. They should act now to prevent the rise of a strongman who has shown utter disregard for democratic governance, human rights, the rule of law and plain decency.

If it wants to, it is not too late for the Supreme Court to save itself.#

(Movement Against Tyranny Facebook May 12, 2018)

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