By Genalyn Kabiling
Whether they like it or not, the public must respect decision of the Supreme Court upholding the ouster of Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, Malacañang said Tuesday.
Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said the Palace recognizes that some people would oppose the court ruling but reminded them that the Supreme Court was the “final arbiter” on legal matters.
“Like it or hate it, we have to succumb to the decision of the Supreme Court. That is now a final and executory decision,” Roque said during a press conference in Cotabato City.
“Tapos na ang pagiging Chief Justice ni Meilou Sereno. We wish her good luck in her everyday life as a private citizen,” he added.
Roque said the President respects the SC ruling throwing out Sereno’s motion for reconsideration, and will implement its decision since he is the enforcer of the country’s laws and court decisions.
He said the President is expected to choose the next Chief Justice from the shortlist that would be submitted by the Judicial and Bar Council. For now, he said he has no idea on the potential candidates to become the country’s next top magistrate.
“Ang hinihingi ng Presidente ngayon ay magsama-sama muli ang sambayanang Pilipino. Tingin ko malinaw ang desisyon ng Korte Suprema [The President’s only appeal is for the Filipino nation to unite. I think the Supreme Court’s decision is clear],” Roque said.
“Alam ko po, alam ng Palasyo na maraming tututol o hindi sumasang-ayon sa desisyon pero sa ating sistema ng demokrasya ang Korte Suprema ang pinal na arbiter sa lahat ng kontrobersiyang ligal [I know, the Palace knows many will oppose or do not agree with the decision but in our system of democracy, the Supreme Court is the final arbiter of all legal controversies],” he added.
Sereno has been formally removed as Chief Justice after the Supreme Court affirmed its decision ousting her from the post with finality. The High Court, voting 8-6, junked Sereno’s appeal to reconsider its ruling granting the quo warranto petition filed by Solicitor General Jose Calida.
President Duterte earlier denied involvement in the ouster of Sereno from the high court despite his public call on his allies in Congress to fast-track her impeachment.
Duterte recently said Sereno was a “lost cause” now that she has resorted to gimmickry. “She had it coming. She asked for it. Now that she’s out, she’s full of adjectives and gimmickry,” Duterte said early this month.