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Nobody but you! Calida: Sereno to blame for her ouster

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By James Hernandez

Solicitor General Jose Calida said former Supreme Court (SC) chief justice Maria Lourdes Sereno can only blame herself for her ouster.

“Respondent has no one but herself to blame for the cul-de-sac she wandered into,” Calida said in his comment against Sereno’s motion for reconsideration.

“She failed to file her statement of assets and liabilities every year as the law requires. Because the failure to file SALNs (Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth) is a ground for removal of any public officer, she should not have been considered as having ‘proven integrity’ when she applied for the position of Chief Justice in 2012,” he explained.

With this, Calida asked the SC deny Sereno’s motion for reconsideration to uphold its May 11 majority ruling granting his quo warranto petition to oust Sereno.

Calida sought in his quo warranto petition to void Sereno’s 2012 appointment as chief justice since she failed to submit her SALNs before the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) which set it as one of the requirements.

“No one is exempted from complying with the law. Respondent cannot therefore claim she possessed ‘proven integrity’ although she did not follow the law by filing her SALNs every year during the two decades she taught at the UP College of Law,” he noted as Sereno was supposed to submit before the JBC her SALNs she was supposed to have been filing when she was still a UP professor.

Contrary to her claims she can only be removed through impeachment in accordance with the Constitution, Calida continue to insist that quo warranto is another means to remove her under the Constitution.

Should the issues in the quo warranto case be brought up during an impeachment trial at the Senate, the Soicitor General pointed out “that body is not authorized to resolve the issue of Respondent’s ineligibility because it is not an impeachable offense.”

Calida also defended the SC members who voted against her over Sereno’s claims that they were biased against her.

“It would not take deep introspection to see that Respondent is attempting to show that the Court is biased. Her effort is futile: the alleged ‘extraneous matters’ considered by the Court as ‘corroborative evidence’ were in fact taken from her Personal Data Sheet,” he noted.

Meanwhile, he lauded the SC for having “applied the law without fear or favor.”

“Respondent and her allies have thrown everything at their disposal to win this case,” he pointed out.

“There is this hue and cry from so-called legal experts who claim that the Solicitor General is unconstitionally removing Respondent by filing the quo warranto petition against her. Some have rallied against the petition, arguing that granting the petition would make the Solicitor General a very powerful official. Others rant that the other Members of the Court will be at the mercy of quo warranto suits that would follow in the wake of this precedent-settiong case,” he cited.