Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Supreme Court berates Sereno over quo warranto public remarks against fellow justices



Maria Lourdes Sereno | Photo from ABS-CBN News

The Supreme Court reprimanded ousted chief justice Maria Lourdes Sereno over the public statements that she made against her former co justices while the quo warranto petition case against her was still pending at the high tribunal.

"The Court, acting on the show cause order in its May 11, 2018 decision, reprimanded respondent with a stern warning that a repetition of the same acts will merit a heavier penalty" supreme court Spokesperson Theodore Te said

Last May 11, the SC issued a show-cause order against the unseated chief justice over her alleged violations of the Code of Professional Responsibility and the Code of Judicial Conduct for breaching the sub judice rule - a prohibition for public discussion of an ongoing or pending case and for casting aspersions and ill motives to the member justices of the high court.

Maria Lourdes Sereno | Photo from BusinessWorld
"She may be held liable for disbarment for violating the Canons of Professional Responsibility for violating the sub judice rule by repeatedly discussing the merits of the quo warranto petition in different fora and for casting aspersions and ill motives to the Members of the Court even before a decision is made, designed to affect the results of the Court's collegial vote," the Supreme Court decision read

Sereno, in several of her public remarks, had accused six associate justices Associate Justices showing bias against her and should inhibit themsleves from the case. These were Teresita de Castro, Diosdado Peralta, Lucas Bersamin, Francis Jardeleza, Noel Tijam and Samuel Martires.

Sereno’s qualification as Chief Justice was questioned as she failed to file her Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net worth (SALN) for a 17-year period during her stint as a professor at the University of the Philippines.

She was removed by her fellow justices at the Supreme Court voting 8-6 after they decided that her appointment as top magistrate was void and is hereby adjudged guilty of unlawfully holding and exercising the office of the Chief Justice.

Maria Lourdes Sereno | Photo from Philippine Canadian Inquirer
Instead of participating in the process and answering the charges against her truthfully to assist in the expeditious resolution of the matter, Sereno had opted to proceed a nationwide campaign and appeared at several gatherings and television  interviews and speak about judicial independence,

Sereno was the first woman sitting the top post in the judiciary and was supposed to stay in the office as Chief Justice until her retirement age in 2030.

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Source: cnnphilippines