Administration praises Sereno ouster

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This story was updated to include reactions from Malacañang, Senate Majority Leader Tito Sotto, and House Justice Committee Chair Rey Umali.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 11) — Malacañang Palace welcomed the Supreme Court decision ousting Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno on Friday.

In a statement, he said the Supreme Court was "the final arbiter of the law."

"Let us respect its decision granting the quo warranto petition as the proper remedy and the quo warranto petition ruling against [the Chief Justice]," Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said.

The petitioner, Solicitor General Jose Calida, also welcomed the decision Friday, saying justices upheld the rule of law.

"Despite the raucous voices of those pretending to champion the Constitution, the magistrates stayed true to their oath and faithfully adhered to the rule of law," Calida said in a statement moments after the decision was announced by Supreme Court (SC) Spokesperson Theodore Te.

Calida said the decision was even the "epitome of its (SC) exercise of judicial independence."

The SC voted 8-6 to unseat Sereno on Friday.

Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo also told CNN Philippines he was not surprised.

"I'm not surprised, simply because the constitutional provision on impeachment is very clear," Panelo said. "The provision uses the permissive phrase 'may be removed,' which means impeachment is not the exclusive method of removing impeachable officers."

The court gave Sereno ten days to explain why she should not be punished for unlawfully holding her position.

Her camp says they would file an appeal even as the result was a close vote. According to Integrated Bar of the Philippines President Abdiel Dan Fajardo a 7-7 split vote would mean dismissal of the case.

But while the appeal is pending, Sereno cannot re-assume her post.

Te said the decision was "immediately executory," and the Judicial and Bar Council was also instructed to begin the process of application for a new Chief Justice.

Panelo said it did not matter if she stayed in office while the motion was pending.

"What can you do in a 15-day period as a Chief Justice under siege? I don't think you can do anything anyway," Panelo said.

What was important, he said, was "she has been given a remedy to reverse the decision."

Lawmakers accept decision

While a number of senators and congressmen denounced the decision, others accepted it.

"We respect [the Supreme Court's] decision," Senate Majority Leader Tito Sotto said in a statement. "To do otherwise is to make our personal opinion higher that what we regard as supreme."

House Justice Committee Chair Rey Umali likewise welcomed the decision.

"I feel so relieved that we did not go through the tedious and protracted trial in Senate," Umali told CNN Philippines.