IBP asks SC to reconsider decision to unseat Sereno

Published June 12, 2018, 7:32 AM

by Patrick Garcia

By Rey Panaligan

The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) asked the Supreme Court (SC) yesterday to reconsider its May 11 decision that ousted Maria Lourdes P. A. Sereno as chief justice and head of the judiciary.

Integrated Bar of the Philippines logo (MANILA BULLETIN)
Integrated Bar of the Philippines logo

In a motion, the IBP – through its president Abdiel Dan Elijah Fajardo – insisted that Sereno may be removed only through impeachment as it claimed that the decision to oust her was tainted with “political considerations and personal biases.”

Earlier, IBP’s intervention in the “quo warranto” case filed against Sereno by Solicitor General Jose C. Calida in behalf of the government had been merely “noted” by the SC.

In its motion, the IBP told the SC that the High Court overstepped its powers and jurisdiction in nullifying Sereno’s appointment as chief justice in 2012.

“In so doing, the Honorable Court, with all due respect, assumed a role which, by law and jurisprudence, is outside its turf. This constitutes grave and reversible error,” it claimed.

At the same time, it said: “The Senate, having been vested with the power to try impeachment cases by the Constitution itself, it behooves the Honorable Court to respect the Constitution’s grant of jurisdiction and refrain from exercising a power clearly bestowed by the Constitution on another Tribunal or otherwise frustrating the exercise of such power by the Constitutional Tribunal.”

Last May 11, eight of the 14 SC justices voted to oust Sereno as chief justice for her failure to comply with the Judicial and Bar Council’s (JBC) requirement of filing 10-year statements of assets, liabilities and networth (SALNs) when she applied for the chief justice post. Six justices dissented.

The decision stated that Sereno’s failure to submit her SALNs meant “her integrity was not established at the time of her application” and thus she was ineligible to hold her position.

Sereno, herself, had filed a motion to reconsider the SC decision.