Published: Fri, May 11, 2018
People | By Neil Grant

Philippines Supreme Court ousts its own chief justice

Philippines Supreme Court ousts its own chief justice

The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) on Friday said it was eyeing the reversal of the Supreme Court's decision to oust Maria Lourdes Sereno as Chief Justice.

"Accordingly ... Sereno is ousted and excluded therefrom".

Last month, Duterte said that Sereno should now consider him her "enemy" and, in the same speech, asked the House of Representatives to "fast track" her impeachment.

Before the vote, dozens of Sereno's supporters held a vigil outside the court in the capital, Manila, demanding that the petition be thrown out and that she face trial in the Senate.

The quo warranto petition cited Sereno's alleged failure to file her Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Networth (SALN) in compliance with the requirements of the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) when she applied for the post in 2012.

The Supreme Court ruled to remove Maria Lourdes Sereno as Chief Justice.

Jojo Lacanilao, Sereno's lawyer, said their camp will appeal the decision.

Sereno, who went on an "indefinite leave" beginning on March 1, 2018, has insisted the only way she can be removed from office is through impeachment as provided for by the 1987 Philippine Constitution.

In a statement, the IBP maintained that a member of the high court may only be removed through impeachment proceedings.

"Today is not the end, but only the beginning", she told supporters outside the tribunal's compound after the vote. He says "the people should express to the court that the decision was wrong and unacceptable".

Sereno has been at loggerheads with President Rodrigo Duterte and has urged Filipinos to stand up to his authoritarian rule.

"Let the impeachment of the Chief Justice take its course as the Constitution dictates". She added that six colleagues who had testified against her shouldn't have taken part in the vote.

Hundreds of protesters denouncing Sereno's ouster rallied outside the court.

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