Sereno supporters ask ‘Biased 5’ to resign from SC
A multi-sector group supporting Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno yesterday called for the resignation of five Supreme Court (SC) magistrates who refused to inhibit themselves from the quo warranto petition that seeks her ouster from the top judicial post.
About 300 members of the Coalition For Justice trooped to the SC along Padre Faura street in Manila, carrying placards that bore the faces of Associate Justices Teresita de Castro, Diosdado Peralta, Lucas Bersamin, Noel Tijam and Francis Jardeleza to demonstrate their call.
“We call on the SC to honor its own Code and instantly compel the inhibition of the ‘Biased 5.’ If the Biased 5 will not inhibit, we adamantly insist that they resign. We demand that the highest court of the land prove to the Filipino people its respect for the Constitution and its own rulings. Justices, observe the law you are sworn to serve,” the group said in a statement.
It alleged that the Court is “repudiating the Constitution it is mandated to defend” and also “disdains its own rulings and ignores the Code that sets the ethical bar for magistrates” by entertaining the quo warranto petition filed by Solicitor General Jose Calida to challenge the validity of Sereno’s appointment as chief justice in 2012.
“Its unseemly conduct in these quo warranto proceedings grievously tarnishes its legitimacy as a dispenser of justice. If it favors the Solicitor General, its ruling shall not only be illegal and void, it shall also critically jeopardize judicial independence as well as its own institutional integrity,” the group claimed.
Sereno earlier asked the five justices to inhibit from the petition, citing their alleged biases after testifying against her in the impeachment proceedings in Congress.
During oral arguments on the case in Baguio City last April 11, acting Chief Justice Antonio Carpio announced the denial of all five of Sereno’s motions for inhibition for lack of merit. But he did not explain the reasons for the denial and said they would just be included in the decision and opinions of the Court.
A spokesperson for Sereno had expressed fear that the Court may not be able to fairly reach a decision on Calida’s petition given the non-inhibition of the five magistrates.
Meanwhile, the Movement Against Tyranny, another pro-Sereno group, yesterday called on SC justices not to be instruments of “Duterte’s tyranny” as it insisted that the quo warranto petition was “a blatant shortcut that tramples upon the Constitution.”
“The justices of the Court should realize by now that the quo warranto case is just plan B. Duterte is hoping to pit the justices against each other, using their personal animosities and ambitions, to get what he wants: absolute control of the judiciary,” the group alleged in a statement.