Philippines' top court votes to oust Duterte-critic judge

Philippines' top court votes to oust Duterte-critic judge

Philippines' top court votes to oust Duterte-critic judge

"Lourdes Sereno", he said.

Sereno angered Duterte after she disagreed with his efforts to take action against judges linked to illegal drugs in 2016, saying the Supreme Court should be the one to punish erring judges. "And I personally respect that", said Martin.

"We can not remain silent, because silence is like condoning the abuse", she said.

Failing to regularly disclose her assets, liabilities and net worth as a member of the career service prior to her appointment as an Associate Justice, and later as Chief Justice, of the Supreme Court, in violation of the Constitution.

Sereno, who was expected to serve until she reaches the mandatory retirement age of 70 in 2030, was removed via a "quo warranto" petition filed by Solicitor General Jose Calida.

In a statement, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said that the Supreme Court knows what it is doing as it is the final arbiter of the law.

Sereno's predecessor, the late Chief Justice Renato Corona, was impeached over a discrepancy in his SALN-a few millions in dollar accounts in that he had failed to declare-but he went through an impeachment trial in the Senate. I urge the public to remain calm.

'Let us set aside our differences because there is a greater and stronger enemy that we must all face, ' she told the cheering throng.

Sen. Francis Pangilinan also says Congress should insist on its exclusive constitutional role to remove key officials like her through impeachment. "This is not what we expect from the Supreme Court", he said.

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Asked again if she would push to stay in the Court, Sereno said: "I don't have any idea yet at this point".

Lawyer Mundlyn Misal-Martin, president of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) Cebu Chapter, said she was surprised by the decision and that it was "something that I look forward to reading and learning from". She says she was ready to defend herself if the impeachment case reached the Senate for trial. "The Supreme Court, a co-equal branch of government, is duty-bound to uphold the Constitution".

Not contented from her ouster, the SC also issued a show cause order requiring her why she should not be penalized for supposedly violating Code of Professional Responsibility and Code of Judicial Conduct "for transgressing the subjudice rule and for casting aspersions and ill motives to the members of the Supreme Court". Crowds of supporters and opponents of Sereno had gathered outside the building before the ruling. "That is how democracy works", Panelo said.

"Today is not the end, but only the beginning", she told supporters outside the tribunal's compound after the vote.

"A public officer who ignores, trivializes or disrespects Constitutional and legal provisions, as well as the canons of ethical standards forfeits his or her right to hold and continue in that office", Tijam added.

August 24, 2012 President Benigno Aquino 3rd appoints Maria Lourdes Sereno Chief Justice, becoming the first woman to hold the position and the youngest at 52 years old.

Likewise, the SC also declared the Chief Justice position vacant and ordered the Judicial and Bar Council to start the search for Sereno's replacement.

"If the Chief Justice has been denied of this basic precept that is supposed to be embedded in a democratic process, where justice is to be based on the rule of law, how then can we protect an ordinary litigant who seeks redress before the highest court?" she added.

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