Sereno to attend oral arguments on quo warranto plea

MANILA — Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno will attend on the oral arguments set by Supreme Court on the quo warranto petition filed by the Office of Solicitor General (OSG) seeking to nullify her appointment.

This was confirmed by lawyer Jojo Lacanilao, one of Sereno’s spokespersons, on Wednesday.

“Yes, CJ (Chief Justice) will attend the oral arguments to answer questions of justices. But her appearance is without prejudice to our jurisdiction challenge,” Lacanilao said in text message sent to reporters.

Sereno has earlier asked the SC to dismiss the OSG’s petition on technical grounds, particularly for lack of jurisdiction and violation of the one-year prescription period for the filing of such petitions.

She argued that the SC has no jurisdiction and authority to remove her from office because the 1987 Constitution provides that she could only be ousted by impeachment in Congress as she is an impeachable official.

Sereno, who is currently on indefinite leave, earlier said she is ready to face impeachment proceedings in the Senate anytime soon.

The SC has set the oral arguments in Baguio City on April 10.

Te said the Court granted Sereno’s motion for oral arguments.

Solicitor General Jose Calida, meanwhile, lauded the SC decision to set oral arguments on his quo warranto petition.

Calida also lauded the decision of the high court denying the petition to intervene on the matter.

The Court denied petition filed by the Makabayan bloc consisting of party-list lawmakers led by Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate and a group of private individuals led by running protest Fr. Robert Reyes seeking to intervene on the quo warranto petition.

However, the court noted the intervention petition filed by Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP)

Calida’s petition against Sereno stemmed from a letter filed by suspended lawyer Eligio Mallari, urging him to initiate a quo warranto proceeding against the top magistrate.

Last Feb. 21, Mallari, who called Sereno a “de facto chief justice”, asked the OSG to initiate a quo warranto proceeding against her.

Under Rule 66 of the Rules of Court, a quo warranto proceeding is an action by the government against a person who unlawfully holds a public office or holds a position where he or she is not qualified.

Calida insisted that a quo warranto proceeding is a “proper remedy to question the validity of Sereno’s appointment.”