By Dane Angelo M. Enerio
THE PRESIDENT of Ateneo de Manila University (Ateneo) has joined the call by such organizations as the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) and the Makati Business Club (MBC) for the dismissal of the quo warranto petition seeking to void Chief Justice Maria Lourdes P.A. Sereno’s appointment.
“The Constitution categorically provides that the Chief Justice, the head of the Judiciary, a co-equal branch of government, can only be removed through impeachment,” university president Jose Ramon T. Villarin said in a statement on Saturday.
Regarding Solicitor-General Jose C. Calida’s petition, Mr. Villarin said, “resorting to such a petition to remove the Chief Justice circumvents the clear dictates of the Constitution.”
“We thus categorically call on the Supreme Court to dismiss the Quo Warranto petition filed against the Chief Justice,” he added.
Mr. Villarin said further that “it should alarm us when several justices who will decide on whether the Chief Justice has sufficiently complied with the requirement are among those who have accused her of wrongdoing in that regard, during hearings conducted by Congress, thus effectively prejudging the matter… how will justice and fairness now prevail?”
“We ask the justices of the Supreme Court to pause and discern carefully the damage their actions have inflicted on themselves and on the whole of our democratic society… we ask them to let the right process take us to the truth,” Mr. Villarin said.
In oral arguments last Tuesday, April 10, Mr. Calida implored the high court to void Ms. Sereno’s appointment saying she failed to completely submit to the Judicial and Bar Council her Statements of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALNs).
Both Mr. Calida and Ms. Sereno have since been directed by Senior Associate Justice Antonio T. Carpio to submit their respective memoranda and documents on April 20 at the latest before her case is submitted for resolution.