News Commentary by Raïssa Robles
The Supreme Court decision ousting Maria Lourdes Sereno was very specific.
She was being ousted as CHIEF JUSTICE.
By a vote of 8-6, her appointment as CJ was declared void.
If her appointment as CJ was voided, but nothing was said about her being permanently barred from holding any public office, does this mean she reverts back to her previous status?
As sitting Associate Justice of the Supreme Court?
Further explanation added – May 14, 2018
I am asking this because for such a historic feat – the ouster of a Chief Justice by her own peers – the decision penned by Associate Justice Noel Tijam does not adequately explain what a quo warranto petition means in ousting a sitting Chief Justice who happened to be an Associate Justice before she was appointed to that post.
Tijam himself said that the only thing that a quo warranto petition does is ouster from or forfeiture of the contested post. He said:
“The remedies available in a quo warranto judgment do not include correction or reversal of acts taken under the ostensible authority of an office or franchise. Judgment is limited to ouster or forfeiture and may not be imposed retroactively upon prior exercise of official or corporate duties.”
The public is merely made to assume that with Sereno’s ouster as Chief Justice, she is being bodily ousted from the Court and is forfeiting her current post. How about her previous post? Does she forfeit that, too? The Tijam decision is silent on that.
The ruling did not state that she was also not qualified for the post of Associate Justice when she applied in 2010. It would seem unjust to assume that she was not qualified as well in 2010 when there was no discussion among the justices on this particular point.
The public is also made to assume that she has to leave the court because otherwise there would be no vacancy for the post of Supreme Court Chief Justice since there would still be 15 justices.
Not quite. Since this is such an extraordinary case with no precedent, the selection of the Chief Justice would necessarily be confined among the other sitting 14 justices.
IMPORTANT UPDATE as of May 13, 2018:
I just read the 153-page decision of Associate Justice Noel Tijam and noticed a very interesting thing.
Associate Justice Francis Jardeleza, who was counted as having voted “YES” to the quo warranto, DID NOT SIGN THE DECISION!
Here is what is stated above his name.
Was he sick? Why did he not sign the decision himself?According to justice beat reporter Marlon Ramos of Philippine Daily Inquirer, sources said Jardeleza was abroad and had left his “YES” vote.
So did Justice Estela Bernabe but in her case, she had left a “NO” vote. Sources had earlier told Marlon that both had left “YES” votes.
Still, let’s hear from Jardeleza.
I will write about the decision as soon as I finish another deadline.
FURTHER UPDATE as of May 13, 2018:
I just read the 43-page “Opinion” written and submitted by Justice Jardeleza on May 11. It is mostly about himself and why he does not deserve to be called a “traitor” by Sereno but Sereno deserves to be called THAT.
In the end, on page 34 however, his “Opinion” merely states that he had decided not to inhibit himself from the Sereno case. In other words, he was denying Sereno’s Motion for Inhibition.
WHEREFORE, the foregoing premises considered, the Ad Cautelam Respectful Motion for Inhibition of Hon. Associate Justice Francis H. Jardeleza filed by Respondent Maria Lourdes P.A. Sereno is hereby DENIED. SO ORDERED.
That was all he said.
The rest of the pages (35 to 43) contain a speech that he had delivered in 2016 on the issue.
Please note that JARDELEZA’S OPINION DID NOT SAY WHETHER OR NOT HE WAS VOTING “YES” OR “NO” TO OUST SERENO THROUGH A QUO WARRANTO. He hardly mentioned Sereno’s SALNs.
He had merely left a “YES” vote, thus making the vote eight in favor of ousting Sereno and six not in favor.
Here is a video blog I made about the implications of the CLOSE VOTE to oust Sereno.
(Today, 30 May 2018) – Ousted Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno files an appeal on the Supreme Court ruling on May 11 that granted Solicitor General Jose Calida’s quo warranto …
Two months to her retirement, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales’ golden nuggets to one of (our) Times’ Strongmen.