MALACANANG respected the decision of senators to sign a resolution opposing the Supreme Court’s ruling to oust Maria Lourdes Sereno as chief justice.
“Well, you know, the senators are free to sign such a resolution. The resolution, of course, forms part of their inherent legislative powers,” Palace spokesman Harry Roque said during a press conference on Thursday.
But Roque agreed with Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson’s statement that the senators’ appeal was “premature.”
“We also note the statement of Sen. Ping Lacson that it appears to be premature because no articles of impeachment have been forwarded to the Senate. But of course respect completely the discretion of the Senate to file this resolution,” he said.
Roque made the statement after Sen. Francis Pangilinan said that 14 of the 23-man Senate have signed the resolution. Those who have signed included members of both the Senate majority and minority blocs.
The resolution was drafted after the Supreme Court granted Solicitor General Jose Calida’s quo warranto petition against Sereno last week, invalidating her 2012 appointment as chief justice.
In its ruling, the high court said its grant of a quo warranto plea to oust Sereno sought to ensure that “only qualified individuals” hold public office. It said impeachment was not the sole means to remove impeachable officials.
Sereno was supposed to remain chief magistrate until her retirement at age 70 in 2030.
Her removal from office marks the first time in Philippine history that a chief justice was ousted through a quo warranto plea. CATHERINE S. VALENTE