Cebuano lawyers dismayed, shocked by SC ruling on Sereno
They did the unthinkable.
Some Cebuano lawyers expressed shock and disappointment over the historic ouster of Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno on Friday by her very own colleagues in the Supreme Court.
Columnist lawyer Gloria Estenzo-Ramos, who is also the vice president of Oceana Philippines, said the high court erred in removing an impeachable official such as the chief justice
“The Supreme Court, as the principal vanguard of our Constitution and democratic values and institutions, did the unthinkable,” she said in a text message.
Voting 8-6, the SC en banc granted the quo warranto petition filed by Solicitor General Jose Calida, questioning the qualifications of Sereno as the country’s chief magistrate.
Calida cited Sereno’s failure to submit a complete statement of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN), to the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) which nominated her to the SC’s top post.
“The ouster of CJ Sereno goes against our constitutional mechanisms on accountability and the stringent requirement on the independence of the judiciary, as the last bulwark of democracy,’” Ramos said.
She also commended the six justices – Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, and Associate Justices Presbitero Velasco Jr., Marvic Leonen, Estela Perlas – Bernabe, Mariano Del Castillo and Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa – who voted against Sereno’s ouster.
“We salute the six justices who did what they could to salvage the integrity of the institution we all value,” she said.
The eight magistrates who voted in favor of the quo warranto petition were Associate Justices Teresita Leonardo De Castro, Diosdado Peralta, Lucas Bersamin, Samuel Martires, Francis Jardeleza, Andres Reyes Jr., Alexander Gesmundo and Noel Tijam, who authored the decision.
Meanwhile, lawyer Joan Largo, dean of the University of San Carlos (USC) College of Law, said the eight justices who granted the quo warranto petition may have misinterpreted the law.
“SAJ Antonio T. Carpio has once more mirrored our thoughts and apprehensions. Cases in the past have taught us removal can only be by impeachment, for good reasons,” Largo said on her Facebook post.
“We should not have allowed the expedient to take away the important,” she added.
Nonetheless, Ramos said the fight for the rule of law shall continue.
“It is the only way to pave a future of stability and predictability that our children and grandchildren deserve to have,” she said.
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