The Supreme Court on Tuesday admonished ousted chief justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno for discussing the merits of the quo warranto case filed against her by Solicitor General Jose Calida in public, while it was still pending before the tribunal.
The SC also reprimanded Sereno for her attacks against her former SC colleagues at the height of the deliberation on the quo warranto case, where the ousted top magistrate appeared in several forums and media interviews
Sereno also publicly assailed the decision of six of her colleagues―Associate Justices Teresita Leonardo-De Castro, Diosdado Peralta, Lucas Bersamin, Francis Jardeleza, Samuel Martires and Noel Tijam―not to inhibit themselves from the case, saying they were biased against her.
The six magistrates testified against Sereno during the impeachment hearings at the House of Representatives.
In a media briefing, Court spokesman Theodore Te said the decision was reached by the magistrates during their en banc session Tuesday.
Despite the half-day work suspension due to the inclement weather, the SC still proceeded with the regular en banc session.
“The Court, acting on the show cause order in its May 11, 2018 decision, reprimanded respondent with a stern warning that a repetition of the same act will merit a heavier penalty,” the Court said.
Part of the May 11 ruling that granted the quo warranto petition also issued a show cause order directing Sereno why she should not be held in contempt for discussing the case even while it is still pending in Court.
The tribunal then said such discussion in public violated the sub judice rule and cast aspersions and ill motives on members of the Court.
The sub judice rule prohibits parties to a case from discussing its merits pending the resolution of the case.
In her compliance to the show cause order, Sereno explained she was just defending herself from the repeated “false and baseless” accusations made against her.
“No less than the solicitor general of the republic himself repeatedly attacked respondent and publicly discussed the merits of the petition and even made personal attacks on respondent, not only through the media but also through his personal social media-Twitter- account,” Sereno said.
Because of this, Sereno said the Court should not fault her for publicly explaining and defending her side.
Sought for comment on the SC’s decision, lawyer Josa Deinla, one of Sereno’s spokespersons, said they could not comment as they have yet to receive a copy of the ruling.
“We’d like to see it first before we comment,” Deinla said.