THE quo warranto petition filed by Solicitor General Jose Calida seeking to oust Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno from her post is illegal, an opposition lawmaker said Monday.
Rep. Edcel Lagman of Albay, also a lawyer, said that Calida’s petition questioning the validity of the appointment of Sereno as Chief Justice in August 2012 passed the prescriptive period of one year as provided under Rule 66, Section 11 of the Rules of Court.
“The quo warranto petition gives the seven justices the opportunity to pursue their scheme in removing the chief magistrate without waiting for the constitutional process of a Senate impeachment trial. The quo warranto petition inveigles the Supreme Court to violate the Constitution by usurping the power of the House of Representatives to impeach the Chief Justice and the jurisdiction of the Senate to try and judge her,” Lagman said in a statement.
Under the 1987 Constitution, a Chief Justice and the Associate Justices of the Supreme Court may be convicted for culpable violation of the Constitution, treason, bribery, graft and corruption, other high crimes, or betrayal of public trust by the Senate impeachment court.
During the impeachment proceedings at the House of Representatives, it was revealed that the Judicial and Bar Council —which screens applicants for the Chief Justice and Associate Justice posts—included Sereno in the shortlist of nominees even if she did not submit her Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth from 1986 to 2006.
Psychologist Geraldine Tria also testified that Sereno exhibited five out of nine strong manifestations of mental disturbance, namely: grandiosity, [thirst for]unlimited power, sense of entitlement, exploiting other people to her advantage and lack of empathy.
Tria, who did not give the psychological exams conducted by the JBC in August 2012, based her observations on the accounts of psychiatrists Dulce Sahagun and Genuina Ranoy and psychologists Maria Suerte Caguingin and Bernaden de Leon-Jamon who administered the tests on Sereno when she applied for the job of Chief Justice.
Lawyer Larry Gadon filed the impeachment complaint against Sereno for alleged corruption, betrayal of public trust and culpable violation of the Constitution.