Sereno alarmed by 'leaked SC draft decision' to oust her

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 20) — Embattled Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno on Friday expressed alarm over the supposedly leaked draft decision of the Supreme Court to unseat her.

"Kung gayun po indikasyon po ito na ang konklusyon ay nauna sa reasoning at desidido na kung sino pa man yung nag poponencia ng aking pagpapatalsik na gayun na ang mangyayari," Sereno said in an interview with reporters Friday.

[Translation: "If that's true, it indicates that the conclusion preceded reasoning and some justices are determined to remove me from office."]

She added she heard reports that a draft ruling was out as early as April 1.

"Maraming datos pa nga ang hinihingi na i-submit eh hindi pa pala nila ikokonsidera (They asked a lot of data but it turns out they won't consider these)," Sereno said.

The Supreme Court on April 10 held oral arguments on the quo warranto petition filed by Solicitor General Jose Calida seeking Sereno's ouster. The justices are set to cast their votes on May 17, sources told CNN Philippines.

Sereno said it seems the decision is being rushed, noting that May is supposed to be a writing break for the justices.

"Ano yang pagmamadali? Sana naman hindi dahil nakikipagcoordinate o may koordinasyon sa isang nangyayari sa ibang sangay ng pamahalaan. Sana naman bigyan ng halaga yung importansya na masusi ang pag-aaral sa bagay na ito," Sereno said.

(Translation: "What's the rush? I hope there is no coordination with other branches of the government. I hope they give importance to a thorough study of this matter.")

President Rodrigo Duterte had declared himself an enemy of the Chief Justice, after she asked in a public forum how he was involved in the quo warranto petition to remove her from office.

Sereno has noted that Calida, the government's top lawyer filed the quo warranto against her. The quo warranto is a legal proceeding where an individual's right to hold office is challenged.

Calida wanted the Supreme Court to unseat Sereno for repeatedly failing to file her statements of assets, liabilities, and net worth (SALN) before she applied for the Chief Justice post in 2012.

Sereno earlier sought the inhibition of Associate Justices Diosdado Peralta, Lucas Bersamin, Francis Jardeleza, Noel Tijam, and Teresita Leonardo-de Castro - from hearing her quo warranto case, saying they all "manifested actual bias" against her. The five justices denied Sereno's plea.

With the full bench participating in the quo warranto case, it could mean five votes against the Chief Justice, Sereno's camp has said. A majority vote of the justices - or eight out of 14 - would grant the petition to oust Sereno.