Sereno wants SC to junk petition to oust her

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 19) — Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno on Monday formally asked her colleagues at the Supreme Court to dismiss the petition seeking her ouster.

Sereno, through her legal counsel, Justin Mendoza, filed her comment on the quo warranto petition filed by Solicitor General Jose Calida.

"In her comment, the Chief Justice respectfully prays that the honorable Supreme Court dismiss the quo warranto petition outright, which seeks her removal and questions the validity of her appointment," he said.

Her camp said the Chief Justice can only be removed from office through impeachment.

"The Chief Justice respectfully submits that Section 2, Article 9 of the 1987 Constitution and the established rules of court clearly provide that members of the Supreme Court, including the Chief Justice herself, may be removed only by impeachment," Mendoza said.

Calida on March 5 filed a quo warranto petition asking the Supreme Court to void Sereno's appointment in 2012 for failing to file her Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN), a requirement of the Judicial and Bar Council for those applying for the post.

Under the rules of court, the government or any individual may file a quo warranto petition against a person who usurps, intrudes into, or unlawfully holds a public office or position.

Related: Sereno: Shortcuts 'preferred' over heeding Constitution

The House Committee on Justice, voting 33-1, approved on Monday the articles of impeachment against Sereno.

If at least one-third of the members of the House of Representatives vote to impeach Sereno, the complaint would go to trial at the Senate.

"The Chief Justice looks forward to her day in court before the Senate sitting as the impeachment tribunal, where she will be able to present her side, present her witnesses, and her evidence," her legal counsel said.

The Chief Justice is on indefinite leave to prepare for the expected Senate trial.

Speaking to CNN Philippines Monday, Atty. Josa Deinla - spokesperson of Sereno - said, "She (Sereno) still trusts that her colleagues at the Supreme Court will rule on this matter in accordance with the Constitution."

She added, "The Chief Justice is not concerned with the humiliation or embarrassment that this will cause her. She is really more focused on how she will be able to bring out the truth and to emerge out of this so that she may continue working at the Supreme Court."

The Senate, convening as an impeachment court, will need a two-thirds vote or 16 of 23 senators to convict the Chief Justice.

CNN Philippines' Rex Remitio contributed to this report.