Sereno facing impeachment, quo warranto petition "unprecedented," says Palace
Malacanang described on Monday as "unprecedented" the situation of embattled Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno who is facing an impeachment complaint and a petition before the Supreme Court seeking the nullification of her appointment.
The Office of the Solicitor General has filed a petition for "quo warranto," questioning Sereno's alleged failure to fully disclose her wealth and for her alleged usurpation of a public office.
A quo warranto is an action by the government against an individual for usurpation of a public office, position or franchise.
"Well, let’s just say, this is unprecedented. While the normal rule is that impeachable officers can only be removed through impeachment, the petitioners who, I believe, are fully cognizant of this doctrine, probably feel that under the circumstance, the general rule should not be applicable," Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque.
"So let’s wait for the decision of the Supreme Court," he added.
Sereno has been on indefinite leave since last week following pressure against her by 13 other SC justices during their en banc meeting.
Sereno refused to resign, saying she would face the impeachment trial when her case reaches the Senate.
Roque admitted there might be some cases pending in the office of Sereno which could be affected because she has been on leave.
"Well, I know that the cases pending in the Chief Justice’s office will probably be… remain unacted upon because aside from being Chief Justice, she has a case load. And because she has gone on indefinite leave, I guess we can say?safely conclude that there will be decisions that will be unwritten because she has gone on indefinite leave," he said.
But except for those cases, Roque expressed belief that as a whole, the court's operation would be unhampered.
"But other than that, as an institution, the court acts as a collegial body. She is first amongst equals, but she only has administrative duties which Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio can now fulfill in view of the Chief Justice. So there should be no major hindrance to the court performing its job," Roque said.
Carpio is the acting chief justice.
Asked about the Palace's preference to resolve the issue against Sereno, he said, "As I’ve said, we have no preference either way. We will enforce whatever decision the Supreme Court or the Senate may have sitting as an impeachment court."
Sereno has been accused of culpable violation of the Constitution, betrayal of public trust, commission of high crimes, and corruption.
Specifically, she allegedly failed to submit her statements of assets, liabilities and net worth to the Judicial and Bar Council when she applied as the chief magistrate in 2012, among others. Celerina Monte/DMS