Malacañang has responded to former Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno’s claims that accused President Rodrigo Duterte was behind her removal, calling for him to resign.
According to Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, the Palace “refrained from commenting” about Sereno’s call but said the ousted chief justice has been engaging in political grandstanding.
“The former top magistrate has been engaged in grandstanding and seeking media coverage, pointing an accusing finger at President Duterte for the result of the quo warranto petition filed against her,” Roque said in a statement.
“We consider this unfortunate, for the truth is, four other fingers point to her,” he added.
According to him, Sereno should “closely look at the mirror to see who is behind the Supreme Court ruling.”
Sereno “violated the Constitution by not filing her SALN” and “managed to alienate her own colleagues at the High Court,” as stated by Roque.
Roque maintained that, unlike the former chief justice, Duterte has not violated the Constitution and enjoys “high satisfaction, approval, performance, and trust ratings from the Filipino people.”
Sereno spoke at the Quo Vadis, Quo Warranto forum of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) on Thursday, May 17, saying Duterte should fulfill his promise to resign if proven that he had a hand in her ouster.
On Wednesday, May 16, Duterte denied any involvement in Sereno’s ouster and promised to resign if proven that he was behind the ouster of the former top magistrate.
“If there’s one congresswoman or congressman or a single justice who will say I talked to them, I can guarantee you I will resign,” Duterte told reporters in Malacañang.
Last week, the Supreme Court voted 8-6, granting the quo warranto petition filed by Solicitor General Jose Calida against Sereno due to Sereno’s supposed failure to submit all her Statements of Assets, Liabilities, and Net worth (SALNs) to the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) when she applied for the post in 2012.
Sereno, the first woman and youngest to hold the top post in the judiciary, would have also served the longest as she was supposed to stay in her post until her retirement at age 70 in 2030.
She was appointed by former President Benigno Aquino III in 2012 following the ouster through the impeachment of then-Chief Justice Renato Corona, an appointee of former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.