Philippines Supreme Court ousts its own chief justice

Philippines Supreme Court ousts its own chief justice

"Sereno is found disqualified from and hereby adjudged guilty of unlawfully holding and exercising the office of the chief justice", court spokesman Theodore Te told reporters.

Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno's fellow justices were scheduled to vote Friday on Solicitor-General Jose Calida's petition to remove Sereno from the 15-member tribunal for allegedly failing to file statements of assets and liabilities as required by law in the past.

"The Supreme Court Decision ousting Maria Lourdes Sereno augurs well for the country as it preserves the stability and integrity of the Judiciary".

Sereno is the second chief justice in a row to be ousted in the Philippines. 'This decision is immediately executory without need of further action from the court.' Te said the justices also ordered Sereno to explain within 10 days why she should not be sanctioned for violating judicial codes for issuing statements against the court and on the merits of the case while it was being heard.

The justices who testified against Sereno during the House impeachment hearings, Teresita Leonardo-De Castro, Diosdado Peralta, Lucas Bersamin, Francis Jardeleza, Noel Tijam, and Samuel Martires, also voted in favor of the ouster plea.


Her spokesperson, Jojo Lacanilao, in a separate statement said the chief justice has made a decision to take a 15-day "wellness leave".

Sereno has been accused of failing to pay about 2 million pesos (US$40,000) in taxes as well as falsifying and tampering with court resolutions.

The SC also declared the Chief Justice post vacant and ordered the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) to start the application and nomination process. "I don't think you can do anything anyway", Panelo said.

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.

Duterte and Sereno first clashed in 2016 when she criticised his order that judges whom he linked to the illegal drugs trade turn themselves in as part of his crackdown.

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