By Minde Nyl R. Dela Cruz

THE Makati Business Club (MBC) in a statement on Friday urged “the country’s political and judicial leaders” to let Congress “follow the impeachment process set forth in the Constitution” against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes P.A. Sereno.

“Regardless of the outcome of the process, giving the chief justice the chance to defend herself within our constitutionally-defined process is essential to demonstrate this country’s respect for the rule of law and to assure all Filipinos that we are protected by our laws,” said the influential group.

“It is absolutely essential for businesses that laws and contracts will be upheld for them to invest and create more jobs which is what will ultimately reduce poverty in a sustainable way,” the business group added.

Solicitor-General Jose C. Calida last week petitioned the Supreme Court for a quo warranto petition questioning the validity of Ms. Sereno’s appointment over her alleged failure to submit complete statements of assets, liabilities, and net worth (SALNs) as required by the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) — a move seen as intended to oust Ms. Sereno through means other than impeachment.

Oriental Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo V. Umali, who chairs the House justice committee hearing the impeachment complaint against Ms. Sereno, had also cited the quo warranto petition which the opposition, on the other hand, says affirms the weakness of the impeachment case.

House Majority Floor Leader Rodolfo C. Fariñas also said the Supreme Court could have already decided on the quo warranto petition even before the House plenary could vote on impeachment after the congressional break.

Last year, MBC issued a statement expressing concern over the series of impeachment cases against top government officials, noting that this may have an “unfavorable impact” on the government’s socioeconomic agenda.

Also on Friday, lawyer Romeo B. Igot petitioned the high court to compel Ms. Sereno “to submit her SALNs (Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth) covering the missing years 2003 to 2005 and 2007 to 2008 as well as to show evidence that she indeed passed the psychological examination administered on her.”

The petition said that otherwise, Ms. Sereno should “be prohibited from further assuming her functions as the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and…her appointment as Chief Justice of the Philippine Supreme Court (be declared) null and void.”

Mr. Igot claimed his petition — which uses the same arguments as Mr. Calida’s quo warranto — “is the fastest way to remove the Chief Justice.” — with Dane Angelo M. Enerio