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Philippine Supreme Court Ousts Top Judge Critical of Duterte Government

Philippine Supreme Court Ousts Top Judge Critical of Duterte Government

In his concurring opinion explaining why he refused to inhibit from the case as demanded Sereno, Jardaleza said he gave full weight to his duty to sit in the case because of the "grave importance of this case, its far-reaching doctrinal value and its permanent implications to the Court as an institution and equal branch of Government call for no less than a decision made by a full court".

Sereno's lawyer and spokesman Jojo Lacanilao says an appeal was the only legal remedy left after the justices voted 8-6 to grant a government petition to oust Sereno because she allegedly sullied her integrity by failing to file assets disclosures as required by law prior to her entry at the Supreme Court. Sereno, the country's first woman chief justice, denies the allegation and did not participate in the vote.

This means that even if Sereno files her motion for reconsideration, her ouster as Chief Justice and as member of the SC is immediately enforceable.

Among those who voted in favor of Calida's petition were Tijam, associate justices Teresita Leonardo-de Castro, Diosdado Peralta, Andres Reyes Jr., Lucas Bersamin, Samuel Martires, Alexander Gesmundo, and Francis Jardeleza.

Opposition party Akbayan said the country was "a heartbeat away" from the death of its democracy. The Congress, controlled by Duterte's allies, was due to vote on an impeachment complaint against Sereno next week. He said impeachment removes qualified impeachable officers while quo warrantoousts unqualified public officials.

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The note referred to a recent incident during the case proceedings when Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Health Secretary Abid Majeed was reading out from a report on incinerators in government hospitals, which he said had been submitted on the directives of the human rights cell (HRC) of the apex court.

Following the move, Sereno released a statement urging Filipinos to "defend the constitution and fight wrongdoing", cited by The Guardian.

"Let's continue to spread the message of democracy and reason", she said.

"After having a lapdog Congress and a seriously wounded Senate, we now have a puppet Supreme Court", the party said in a statement.

Judges of the Philippines' top court voted yesterday to remove their chief justice, who faced ouster efforts after battling with President Rodrigo Duterte over his deadly war on drugs. Her predecessor, Renato Corona, was impeached by the House in 2011. Crowds of supporters and opponents of Sereno had gathered outside the building before the ruling.