Medicine

Justices focus questioning on Sereno's 'failure' to submit SALNs

Justices focus questioning on Sereno's 'failure' to submit SALNs

The chief justice faced the Supreme Court in Baguio City yesterday to answer questions on the quo warranto petition that the government's top lawyer had filed, even as the House was deliberating on the impeachment complaint against Sereno.

"I'm putting you on notice that I'm your enemy and have to be out of the Supreme Court", a seething Duterte told Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno in a press conference he held at the global airport in his hometown of Davao City in Mindanao before flying to China to attend an worldwide conference.

Sereno claimed De Castro only filed 15 out of the required 39 SALNs before the Judicial and Bar Council, adding the other justices should also be made to personally appear before the court if their wealth declarations in their SALNs are questioned.

De Castro said that instead of filing a SALN as of August 2010, Sereno only submitted a SALN as of December 2009.

Earlier, the powerful House Committee on Justice, dominated by Duterte allies, approved its report seeking the impeachment of Sereno and immediately referred it to the plenary for approval. "I did not", Calida said.

Even Associate Justice Francis H. Jardeleza noted Sereno's use of several excuses in defending her failure to present her missing SALNs.

Sereno is urging the high court to dismiss Calida's petition, saying she can only be removed through impeachment proceedings.

Sereno, however, insisted that she could not longer find copies of her SALN because of the 10-year retention period. She also denied having any grudge against Sereno.

A spokesman for Sereno said she was eager to prove in court she had done nothing wrong.

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"Justice Diosdado Peralta was available to object 10 times and none of them ever objected", she said.

Manila: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said Monday lawmakers must "fast-track" the impeachment of the nation's top judge, further stacking the odds against her staying in office.

Also prior to the start of the oral arguments, Acting Chief Justice Antonio T. Carpio announced that the five justices Sereno accused of being prejudiced against her had denied her motion seeking their inhibition from the case.

A member of the multi-sectoral group that held a picket in protest of the quo warranto case against Chief Justice-on-leave Ma.

"Correct your honor", Calida said.

During a forum at University of the Philippines Cebu campus last April 5, Sereno said she is ready to present her evidence during the impeachment trial.

"Although she is an impeachable officer, she may thus be ousted from office despite her protestations".

The president also said he would ask Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez of the House of Representatives to hasten the impeachment case filed against Sereno for alleged betrayal of public trust and violation of the Constitution as well as graft.


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