Senators urge SC to review Sereno ouster

ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 17 2018 03:51 PM | Updated as of May 17 2018 11:27 PM

Ousted Supreme Court Chief Justice Lourdes Sereno addresses her supporters in Manila, May 11, 2018. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA (UPDATED) - A majority of senators on Thursday urged the Supreme Court to review its decision to oust Maria Lourdes Sereno as chief justice.

Sen. Francis Pangilinan said 14 of the 23-member Senate signed Senate Resolution No. 738 filed Thursday.

"[We] respectfully urge the Supreme Court to review its decision to nullify the appointment of Maria Lourdes Sereno as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court," the resolution stated.

Those who signed included members of both the Senate majority and minority blocs. 

Senators who signed were Pangilinan, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, Antonio Trillanes IV, Risa Hontiveros, Bam Aquino, and Leila de Lima, all from the minority bloc, and lawmakers from the majority bloc Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto and Senators Sherwin Gatchalian, Sonny Angara, Grace Poe, Francis Escudero, Joel Villanueva, Ralph Recto, Loren Legarda, and Senate President Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III.

The resolution also expressed the "sense of the Senate of the Philippines to uphold the Constitution on the matter of removing a Chief Justice from office."

This comes 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 seeks 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.

Speaking to ANC on Thursday, Aquino said lawmakers hope that the resolution could be used by Sereno's camp when she appeals her ouster.

"We hope this resolution can form part of information for that MR (motion for reconsideration) na malinaw sa amin dito sa Senado na mali 'yung ginawa ng Supreme Court (that it's clear for us here in the Senate that what the Supreme Court did was wrong)," he said.

"I think it's important that the Senate makes a stand on this issue. Marami na rin sa amin ang nagsasabi na unconstitutional itong ginawa ng Supreme Court (many of us have been saying that what the Supreme Court did was unconstitutional) and this is not just coming from the minority but across party lines," he added.

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MalacaƱang welcomed the senators' resolution.

"The senators are free to sign such a resolution," Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said.

"The resolution forms part of their inherent legislative powers,” he said.

Sereno, who faced both a quo warranto plea at the high court and an impeachment complaint at the House of Representatives, had previously said she should be given her day at the Senate impeachment court to state her case. 

-- with reports from Sherrie Ann Torres, ABS-CBN News