Timeline leading up to Sereno’s ouster

Marje Pelayo   •   May 11, 2018   •   5969


Former Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno


Revisit the events, allegations and hearings that led to the eventual ouster of Maria Lourdes Sereno as chief justice of the Supreme Court.

August 15, 2017
Complainants Eligio Mallari and Dante Jimenez of the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) filed the first the impeachment complaint against of Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno at the House of Representatives.

August 30, 2017
Atty. Larry Gadon filed the second impeachment complaint against Sereno also at the House.

September 13, 2017
The House Justice committee opened the impeachment proceedings against Sereno and determined the impeachment complaint filed by Gadon “sufficient in form and substance” while dismissing the one filed by Jimenez.

January 26, 2018
Gadon again filed a graft complaint against Sereno for alleged non-filing of Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN) before the Department of Justice (DoJ).

February 19, 2018
The impeachment hearing against Sereno resumed at the House of Representatives.

February 27, 2018
The Supreme Court en banc forced Sereno to take an indefinite leave of absence starting on March 1, 2018. Her spokesperson, Jojo Lacanilao, in a separate statement said the chief justice has decided to take a 15-day “wellness leave.”

March 1, 2018
Sereno began her indefinite leave of absence.

March 2, 2018
Atty. Oliver Lozano filed a petition to the High Court to invalidate Sereno’s appointment on the ground that the top magistrate failed to comply with mandatory legal requirements. In a speech at a judicial forum at University of Baguio, Sereno rejected calls for her to resign.

March 5, 2018
Solicitor General Jose Calida filed a quo warranto petition against Sereno before the Supreme Court.

March 6, 2018
The Supreme Court en banc orders Sereno to comment on the quo warranto petition filed against her by the OSG.

March 8, 2018
The justice committee of the House found probable cause to impeach Sereno with a vote of 38-2.

March 14, 2018
The House Committee on Justice deferred its voting on the draft articles of impeachment against Sereno pending finalization.

March 19, 2018
The House panel, voting 33-1, approved articles of impeachment vs. Sereno. The Chief Justice filed her comment on the quo warranto petition filed by Solicitor General Jose Calida.

April 3, 2018
The Supreme Court (SC) decided to hold an oral argument on April 10 on the quo warranto petition filed by Calida against Sereno.

April 10, 2018
Sereno faced probing colleagues in a historic first for the Philippine judiciary that a Chief Justice stands at a hearing by her fellow justices.

April 17, 2018
SC set voting on Sereno’s quo warranto case originally on May 17. However, court insiders said the voting was moved to May 11, simultaneous with the submission of the justices separate opinions on the case.

May 10, 2018
Sereno returned to the Supreme Court, ending her month-long wellness leave.

May 11, 2018
The Supreme Court ruled to remove Maria Lourdes Sereno as Chief Justice. Voting 8-6, the magistrates granted Solicitor General Jose Calida’s quo warranto petition against Sereno.

It was a moment of historical firsts. It was the first in the Supreme Court’s 117-year history that a chief justice presided over the full court session where she herself was the respondent in a case that was up for deliberation and decision by her colleagues. It was also the first time in the history of the Philippines’ High Tribunal that a chief justice was removed through a quo warranto plea.

— Marje Pelayo | UNTV News and Rescue


SC overturns decision to disqualify Camarines Norte gubernatorial bet

Marje Pelayo   •   September 13, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Voting 8-6, the Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday (September 10) granted the petition of Camarines Norte gubernatorial candidate Edgardo Tallado who questioned his disqualification by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) in the last May 19 elections.

Tallado was allowed to run after the SC issued a Status Quo Ante Order (SQAO) following Comelec’s decision to disqualify him from the race.

The SC decision, penned by Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin, stated that the Court En Banc overturned the Comelec’s decision to disqualify Tallado to run in the gubernatorial race.

The SC Public Information Office will issue a copy of the decision through its website once they receive the official copy from the Office of the Clerk of Court En Banc.

Concurring with Bersamin were Justices Diosdado Peralta, Alexander Gesmundo, Andres Reyes Jr., Jose Reyes Jr., Amy Lazaro-Javier, Henry Jean Paul Inting and Rodil Zalameda.

Dissenting were Justice Francis Jardeleza, Antonio Carpio, Estela Perlas-Bernabe, Marvic Leonen, Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa, and Rosmari Carandang.

Comelec had disqualified Tallado to run due to what the poll body says as questionable years of service as governor of Camarines Norte, pointing out that should they grant Tallado’s certificate of candidacy, it would have already been his 4th term as governor.

The law provides that gubernatorial post is only limited to three consecutive terms.

However, Tallado took his case to the Supreme Court questioning the decision of the Comelec, insisting that he is still eligible to run for the May 2019 polls as he was suspended from office in 2015 and was reinstated only in 2018.

Tallado won as the governor of Camarines Norte after garnering 149,002 votes against his rival Cathy Barcelona-Reyes who had 104,635 votes.

Comelec has yet to comment on the matter as it yet to receive a copy of the SC decision. — Marje Pelayo

JBC resumes public interview of applicants for SC posts

Maris Federez   •   September 9, 2019

The applicants for the soon-to-be-vacated posts in the Supreme Court (SC) went through the close scrutiny of the members of the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC), as day-2 of the public interviews resumed today.

Among the applicants who waited in line were Court Administrator Jose Midas Marquez, Atty. Jeremy Gatdula and Atty. Cesar Villanueva.

The soon-to-be-vacated positions in the Supreme Court are that of Associate Justice Francis Jardaleza who is set to retire on September 26, and Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio who will be retiring on October 26.

Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin, on the other hand, will also be retiring on October 18.

The JBC will start conducting public interviews on applicants who will be vying for the position of chief magistrate of the Supreme Court on October 2. (with details from Nel Maribojoc) /mbmf

SC ready to accept petitions on GCTA law

Robie de Guzman   •   September 4, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Supreme Court (SC) on Wednesday said it is ready to accept petitions challenging the provisions of the Republic Act 10592 or the law which increased the good conduct time allowance (GCTA) given to inmates.

SC Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin said they will accept the petitions especially if these meet all the requirements and are found with justiciable issue.

The SC chief magistrate added that it will also depend on the crafting of the petition whether the SC can exercise its jurisdiction toward a particular matter.

“As to what issues will be raised there, it will depend on whether that issue is premature or not yet justiciable. Assuming na justiciable na yan, we can surely accept,” Bersamin said.

The law containing the new rule on GCTA has been recently placed under scrutiny following reports that convicted rapist-murderer Antonio Sanchez could be among the 11,000 persons deprived of liberty who are eligible for early release for good behavior while in prison.

Sanchez was convicted in 1995 for the rape and murder of student Eileen Sarmenta and the murder of her friend, Allan Gomez. He has been in jail for 25 years for seven terms of reclusion perpetua.

The law was passed and signed during the time of President Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino in 2013. Last June 2019, the SC ruled that the law could be applied retroactively.

“These matters that are being discussed in the public investigation of the Senate will deal probably with the specific situation where an applicant or person presently detained will probably be denied or release, so that is the good time to say na justiciable na siguro yan,” Bersamin said. RRD (with details from Correspondent Nel Maribojoc)


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