Integrated Bar of the Philippines seeks reversal of Sereno ouster

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 11) — The nation's largest association of Filipino lawyers on Monday filed a motion for reconsideration asking the Supreme Court to reverse its decision to oust Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.

The Board of Governors of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) filed the appeal before the Supreme Court, which last month voted to oust Sereno from office through a quo warranto petition.

The Supreme Court justices voted 8-6 in favor of granting the quo warranto petition filed by Solicitor General Jose Calida against Sereno.

According to the IBP, the decision to oust Sereno should have been made by Congress in an impeachment proceeding.

"With due respect, the issue of whether or not Chief Justice Sereno must be ousted from her office is a political question which can only be resolved through the political remedy of impeachment," the IBP said in their motion.

The lawyer's association also argued that the Supreme Court did not have jurisdiction to rule on Sereno's ouster.

"Intervenor IBP respectfully asserts that the Assailed Decision, being an excess of jurisdiction, is necessarily void," said the IBP.

Because of this decision, the IBP said that the Supreme Court has set a dangerous precedent that could be used in future cases.

Even if the Supreme Court had the jurisdiction to rule over Sereno's ouster, the IBP argued that the court erred in determining whether or not Sereno had failed to file all the required Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALNs) for ten years before she was appointed as Chief Justice in 2012.

The IBP said it is not the function of the Supreme Court to "embark on an examination and evaluation of evidence in cases before it." This, the petition added, was a duty of trial courts.

"What is worse, the Honorable Court failed to maintain the cold neutrality of an impartial judge when it engaged in its own evidence-gathering expedition and sought to supplement the evidence already on record," the IBP said in its motion.

Sereno had previously filed a petition for five justices to inhibit in the quo warranto petition citing allege bias against her. 

Associate Justices Diosdado Peralta, Lucas Bersamin, Francis Jardeleza, Noel Tijam, and Teresita de Castro, who were cited by Sereno, did not inhibit from her case, and all voted to grant the quo warranto petition.

Meanwhile, the impeachment proceeding against Sereno is still pending at the House of Representatives.

READ: Unseating Sereno: A tale of two ousters