Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno and Associate Justice Teresita Leonardo-De Castro engaged in a verbal head-butting during Tuesday’s oral argument on the quo warranto petition.
The high court required Sereno to appear at the oral argument and answer questions from her fellow justices.
After taking her oath, De Castro was the first in line to ask the Chief Justice.
“Did you religiously file your SALN (statement of assets, liabilities and net worth)?” De Castro asked Sereno.
Before answering De Castro’s question, Sereno said: “Can I have your assurance that when a quo warranto is filed against you, you would also under oath answer all questions on SALN.”
Acting Chief Justice Antonio Carpio mediated and told Sereno to answer the question.
Sereno maintained that she has complied with her SALN requirements.
“Where are these two SALNs…You cannot produce them before the court now?” De Castro asked.
Sereno said that in the Doblada case, the high court did not require the court employee to produce the SALN.
Supreme Court Justice Noel Tijam later on called Sereno’s attention on her insinuation that the case against her was a fight between good and evil.
“I am just alarmed by the insinuation when you said evil will not triumph. It seemed that there is a morality play here, a fight between good and evil,” Tijam said during the oral arguments on the quo warranto case filed by Solicitor General Jose Calida at the high court.
“The members of the court are not obsessed by that. We will decide the case based on evidence presented,” Tijam added.
Tijam was one of the five justices that Sereno had wanted to inhibit themselves from hearing the quo warranto petition against her because they had testified against her in impeachment proceedings at the House of Representatives.
Meanwhile, members of the House Makabayan bloc and people’s organizations on Tuesday filed a motion for reconsideration (MR) on the Supreme Court’s (SC) decision denying their petition to intervene on the quo warranto case against Sereno.
Last April 3, the SC denied, for lack of merit, the group’s motion to file a motion to intervene in the quo warranto proceedings against the Chief Justice on-leave.
The group maintained that it has “legal interest” on the issue as the Chief Justice “can only be removed from office through impeachment.”
In a statement, the Makabayan bloc said allegations in the quo warranto petition are clearly “the same as the contents of Article I, Sections A to D, of the Articles of Impeachment, which deals exclusively with the issue of the Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Net worth (SALNs) of Chief Justice Sereno.”