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Re: Opinions by SC on the Sereno quo warranto case, full text/s
« Reply #20 on: May 20, 2018, 01:34:28 AM »

Decision                             21                             G.R. No. 237428

As to the question on jurisdiction, the Republic contends that the Supreme Court is clothed with the authority to determine respondent's qualifications and eligibility to hold the position of the Chief Justice. It argues that the determination of this issue is not a political question because such issue may be resolved through the interpretation of the pertinent prov1s1ons of the Constitution, laws, JBC rules, and Canons of Judicial Ethics.

Going to the fundamental issue of respondent's eligibility to hold the position of Chief Justice, the Republic reiterates that respondent failed to comply with the requirement of submitting SALNs and thus has failed to prove her integrity. Further, the Republic cites respondent's gross misrepresentation in stating that her reason for non-submission of SALNs was because she could no longer retrieve all of such SALN s. According to the Republic, respondent's allegation seems to imply that she did file her SALNs when the Certifications from the U.P. and the Ombudsman state otherwise.

The Republic posits that respondent's lack of integrity is further bolstered by her failure to disclose to the JBC that she failed to file her SALN 11 times during her tenure as U.P. Law Professor.

Integrity, the Republic claims, is simply faithful adherence to the law, and the filing of SALN is a qualification implied from the. requirement of integrity. The filing of SALN is not an additional requirement unduly imposed on applicants to positions in the Judiciary. When respondent failed to file her SALN, she did not comply with the Constitution, laws and appropriate codes of conduct. There is no need to allege or prove graft and corruption in order to prove an aspiring magistrate's lack of integrity.

Finally, the Republic contends that the presumption of regularity cannot be applied in respondent's favor. The Republic claims that such presumption attaches only to official acts and not to all acts of officials. The presumption, according to the Republic, applies only to official acts specified by law as an official duty or to a function attached to a public position. In this case, the filing of SALN is neither an official duty nor a function attached to a position of a U.P. College of Law Professor. In any case, the Republic claims that it has successfully disputed such presumption through the Certifications it presented from U.P. and the Ombudsman.

The Republic's Memorandum

In addition to the arguments put forth by the Republic in the Petition and the Reply, the Republic further justified its non-inclusion of the JBC in the instant petition. It contends that since the petition only disputes the respondent's eligibility to become the Chief Justice, the Solicitor General
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Re: Opinions by SC on the Sereno quo warranto case, full text/s
« Reply #21 on: May 20, 2018, 02:05:04 AM »

Decision                             22                             G.R. No. 237428

correctly instituted the quo warranto petition only against respondent. Insisting on respondent's lack of integrity, the Republic argues that respondent had the legal obligation to disclose to the JBC that she failed to file her SALNs at least 11 times, citing the case of OCA v. Judge Estacion Jr.(79)

The Republic also argues that respondent's claim of good faith is not a defense. Republic Act (R.A.) No. 3019(80) and R.A. No. 6713(81) are special laws and are thus governed by the concept of malum prohibitum, wherein malice or criminal intent is completely immaterial. Thus, her act of blaming the Review and Compliance Committee of U.P. for its failure to inform her that she had no SALNs on file does not exonerate her. The Republic further notes that respondent resorted to the fallacy of tu quoque - a diversionary tactic by using the fault of others to justify one's own fault.

Believing in the strength of its case, the Republic underscores its contention that the respondent was not able to dispute the evidence put forth by the Republic that she failed to religiously file her SALNs throughout her entire stint in the government. The Republic claims that it is futile for respondent to merely allege during the Oral Arguments that she filed her SALNs and will produce them before the Senate. Respondent's admissions during the Oral Arguments, together with the U.P. HRDO's certification, prove that she did not religiously file her SALNs as required by law.

As to the applicability of this Court's ruling in Concerned Taxpayer v. Doblada, Jr.(82), the Republic argues that the case is not on all fours with the instant petition. The Doblada ruling, according to the OSG, did not involve issues on qualifications to public office unlike the present petition. Second, unlike in Doblada, respondent in this case failed to offer any countervailing evidence to disprove the Certifications by the U.P. HRDO and the Ombudsman. Lastly, the statement in Doblada relied upon by the respondent is a mere dictum. The issue therein is centered on Doblada's unexplained wealth. Furthermore, Doblada was decided only in 2005 or after respondent violated the legal requirement on the filing of SALNs.

-------
79 317 Phil. 600 (1995).
80 ANTI-GRAFT AND CORRUPT PRACTICES ACT. Approved on August 17, 1960.
81 AN ACT ESTABLISHING A CODE OF CONDUCT AND ETHICAL STANDARDS FOR PUBLIC OFFICIALS AND EMPLOYEES, TO UPHOLD THE TIME-HONORED PRINCIPLE OF PUBLIC OFFICE BEING A PUBLIC TRUST, GRANTING INCENTIVES AND REWARDS FOR EXEMPLARY SERVICE, ENUMERATING PROHIBITED ACTS AND TRANSACTIONS AND PROVIDING PENALTIES FOR VIOLATIONS THEREOF AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES. Approved on February 20, 1989.
82 498 Phil. 395 (2005).

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Re: Opinions by SC on the Sereno quo warranto case, full text/s
« Reply #22 on: May 24, 2018, 01:38:13 PM »

Decision                             21                             G.R. No. 237428

As to the question on jurisdiction, the Republic contends that the Supreme Court is clothed with the authority to determine respondent's qualifications and eligibility to hold the position of the Chief Justice. It argues that the determination of this issue is not a political question because such issue may be resolved through the interpretation of the pertinent prov1s1ons of the Constitution, laws, JBC rules, and Canons of Judicial Ethics.

Going to the fundamental issue of respondent's eligibility to hold the position of Chief Justice, the Republic reiterates that respondent failed to comply with the requirement of submitting SALNs and thus has failed to prove her integrity. Further, the Republic cites respondent's gross misrepresentation in stating that her reason for non-submission of SALNs was because she could no longer retrieve all of such SALN s. According to the Republic, respondent's allegation seems to imply that she did file her SALNs when the Certifications from the U.P. and the Ombudsman state otherwise.

The Republic posits that respondent's lack of integrity is further bolstered by her failure to disclose to the JBC that she failed to file her SALN 11 times during her tenure as U .P. Law Professor.

Integrity, the Republic claims, is simply faithful adherence to the law, and the filing of SALN is a qualification implied from the requirement of integrity. The filing of SALN is not an additional requirement unduly imposed on applicants to positions in the Judiciary. When respondent failed to file her SALN, she did not comply with the Constitution, laws and appropriate codes of conduct. There is no need to allege or prove graft and corruption in order to prove an aspiring magistrate's lack of integrity.

Finally, the Republic contends that the presumption of regularity cannot be applied in respondent's favor. The Republic claims that such presumption attaches only to official acts and not to all acts of officials. The presumption, according to the Republic, applies only to official acts specified by law as an official duty or to a function attached to a public position. In this case, the filing of SALN is neither an official duty nor a function attached to a position of a U.P. College of Law Professor. In any case, the Republic claims that it has successfully disputed such presumption through the Certifications it presented from U.P. and the Ombudsman.

The Republic's Memorandum

In addition to the arguments put forth by the Republic in the Petition and the Reply, the Republic further justified its non-inclusion of the JBC in the instant petition. It contends that since the petition only disputes the respondent's eligibility to become the Chief Justice, the Solicitor General

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Re: Opinions by SC on the Sereno quo warranto case, full text/s
« Reply #23 on: May 24, 2018, 02:08:31 PM »

Decision                             22                             G.R. No. 237428

correctly instituted the quo warranto petition only against respondent.

Insisting on respondent's lack of integrity, the Republic argues that respondent had the legal obligation to disclose to the JBC that she failed to file her SALNs at least 11 times, citing the case of OCA v. Judge Estacion Jr.(79)

The Republic also argues that respondent's claim of good faith is not a defense. Republic Act (R.A.) No. 3019(80) and R.A. No. 6713(81) are special laws and are thus governed by the concept of malum prohibitum, wherein malice or criminal intent is completely immaterial. Thus, her act of blaming the Review and Compliance Committee of U.P. for its failure to inform her that she had no SALNs on file does not exonerate her. The Republic further notes that respondent resorted to the fallacy of tu quoque - a diversionary tactic by using the fault of others to justify one's own fault.

Believing in the strength of its case, the Republic underscores its contention that the respondent was not able to dispute the evidence put forth by the Republic that she failed to religiously file her SALNs throughout her entire stint in the government. The Republic claims that it is futile for respondent to merely allege during the Oral Arguments that she filed her SALNs and wi11 produce them before the Senate. Respondent's admissions during the Oral Arguments, together with the U.P. HRDO's certification, prove that she did not religiously file her SALNs as required by law.

As to the applicability of this Court's ruling in Concerned Taxpayer v. Doblada, Jr.,(82) the Republic argues that the case is not on all fours with the instant petition. The Doblada ruling, according to the OSG, did not involve issues on qualifications to public office unlike the present petition. Second, unlike in Doblada, respondent in this case failed to offer any countervailing evidence to disprove the Certifications by the U.P. HRDO and the Ombudsman. Lastly, the statement in Doblada relied upon by the respondent is a mere dictum. The issue therein is centered on Doblada's unexplained wealth. Furthermore, Doblada was decided only in 2005 or after respondent violated the legal requirement on the filing of SALNs.

-------
79 317 Phil. 600 (1995).
80 ANTI-GRAFT AND CORRUPT PRACTICES ACT. Approved on August 17, 1960.
81 AN ACT ESTABLISHING A CODE OF CONDUCT AND ETHICAL STANDARDS FOR PUBLIC OFFICIALS AND EMPLOYEES, TO UPHOLD THE TIME-HONORED PRINCIPLE OF PUBLIC OFFICE BEING A PUBLIC TRUST, GRANTING INCENTIVES AND REWARDS FOR EXEMPLARY SERVICE, ENUMERATING PROHIBITED ACTS AND TRANSACTIONS AND
PROVIDING PENALTIES FOR VIOLATIONS THEREOF AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES. Approved on February 20, 1989.
82 498 Phil. 395 (2005).

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Re: Opinions by SC on the Sereno quo warranto case, full text/s
« Reply #24 on: May 24, 2018, 02:30:45 PM »

Decision                             23                             G.R. No. 237428

The Respondent's Memorandum

Respondent insists that she can be removed from office only through impeachment. In addition to the arguments raised in her Comment Ad Cautelam, respondent asserts that impeachment was chosen as the method of removing certain high-ranking government officers to shield them from harassment suits that will prevent them from performing their functions which are vital to the continued operations of government. Such purpose, according to respondent, would be defeated if Section 2, Article XI of the Constitution would not be construed as providing an exclusive means for the removal of impeachable officers. Respondent argues that it would be absurd for the framers of the Constitution to provide a very cumbersome process for removing said officers only to allow a less difficult means to achieve the same purpose.

Respondent contends that the Republic, in citing the 2010 PET Rules and the cases of Estrada v. Desierto(83) and Lawyers League for a Better Philippines and/or Oliver Lozano v. President Corazon Aquino et al.,(84) erroneously lumps together the Chief Justice, the President and the Vice President, simply because they are all impeachable officers. Respondent argues that there are substantial distinctions between the President and Vice President on the one hand, and Members of the Supreme Court on the other: first, unlike Section 4, Article VII of the 1987 Constitution vesting in the Court the power to be the  "sole judge" of all contests relating to the qualifications of the President and the Vice-President, there is no similar provision with respect to the other impeachable officials, i.e., the Members of this Court, the Members of the Constitutional Commission or the Ombudsman; and second, the President and Vice-President are elected officials while the other impeachable officers are appointive officials.

Respondent also argues that there is not a single pronouncement in Funa v. Chairman Villar(85) and Nacionalista Party v. De Vera(86) (by way of a ruling or obiter dictum) to the effect that an impeachable officer may be ousted through a writ of quo warranto, and that both cases were not even for quo warranto.

Respondent maintains that whether respondent was a person of ''proven integrity" when she applied for the position of Chief Justice is a political question outside the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, which only the JBC and the President as the appointing authority could determine. She avers that the application of the political question doctrine is not confined to the President or Congress, as the Republic supposedly argues, but extends to other government departments or officers exercising

-------
83 Supra note 75.
84 Supra note 76.
85 Supra note 65.
86 Supra note 66.

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Re: Opinions by SC on the Sereno quo warranto case, full text/s
« Reply #25 on: May 24, 2018, 02:42:46 PM »

Decision                             24                             G.R. No. 237428

discretionary powers, such as the JBC which uses its wisdom and discretion in determining whether an applicant to the Judiciary is a person of "proven" integrity.

Respondent also contends that absent any challenge to her nomination and appointment on the ground of grave abuse of discretion on the part of the JBC and the President, her appointment can no longer be questioned.

Respondent reiterates that the instant petition is time-barred. She argues that the Republic cannot rely on Agcaoili v. Suguitan(87) because it mentioned the principle nullum temus occurit regi or "no  time runs against the king" only in passing, as the "general rule concerning limitation of action in quo warranto proceedings." She avers that Agcaoili is in fact authority for the principle that prescription will definitely run against the State if the rule or statute clearly so provides.

Respondent avers that she complied with the SALN laws as Professor of the U.P. College of Law and that the law presumes regularity in the filing of SALNs. According to respondent, that at least 11 of her SALNs have been found tends to prove a pattern of filing, rather than non-filing.

Respondent argues that the burden of proof in quo warranto proceedings falls on the party who brings the action and that based on Doblada, the Republic failed to discharge this burden.

Respondent claims that the records of the U.P. HRDO are incomplete and unreliable and there was no categorical statement in its Certification that she failed to file her SALNs for the years 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1992, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2006. Further, she avers that the records of the Office of the Ombudsman are even more incomplete and unreliable, thus, any certification from said office would likewise be insufficient to prove that she failed to file 11 of her SALNs while she was a U.P. Professor.

Respondent contends that she has actually presented preponderant evidence that she filed her SALNs. She avers that she has recovered 11 of her U.P. SALNs and she has direct proof that she executed at least 12 SALNs as a U.P. Professor. She stresses that the U.P. HRDO has thrice "cleared" her of all administrative responsibilities and administrative charges.

Respondent also claims that she was not even required to file a SALN from 1986 to 1991 because her status and appointment then was merely temporary. According to her, the fact that she served as counsel for the Republic for the PIATCO cases in 2004, 2005 and 2006 does not negate her defense that under the law, she was not required to file her SALNs for the years when she was on leave and ·was not receiving compensation arising

-------
87 48 Phil. 676 ( 1929).

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Re: Opinions by SC on the Sereno quo warranto case, full text/s
« Reply #26 on: May 24, 2018, 03:01:19 PM »

Decision                             25                             G.R. No. 237428

from public office (i.e., 2001, 2004, 2005 and 2006).

Respondent's Memorandum also sought to address certain matters raised during the Oral Arguments.

As to where her SALNs are, respondent avers that some of her SALNs were in fact found in the records of the U.P. HRDO, and she was able to retrieve copies of some of her SALNs from the U.P. Law Center. Without prejudice to her jurisdictional objections, she attached them to the Memorandum. She argues that the fact that the SALN s for certain years are missing cannot give rise to the inference that they were not filed. She points out that U.P. was only required to keep the SALNs for a period of ten (10) years after receipt of the statement, after which the SALN may be destroyed.

In explaining her statement before the JBC that her SALNs were irretrievable, respondent avers that she honestly could not retrieve copies from U.P. over the course of a weekend given to her to complete her missing documentary requirements. She declares that she did not keep copies of her SALN s and she was not required to do so by law.

Respondent asserts that her 2009 SALN was not belatedly filed. She explains that her 2009 SALN is an entry SALN which she originally filed on September 16, 2010 within thirty (30) days after her assumption of office as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. According to her, the revised 2009 SALN which has the annotation "revised as of 22 June 2012," is a revised version executed in June 2012 to more accurately reflect the acquisition cost of certain assets declared in 2010.

With respect to the purported 2006 SALN, respondent avers that it was not the SALN required by RA 6713, but a mere statement of her assets which the JBC requested as a tool to determine her assets for comparison with her income tax returns. She explains that she merely happened to use a downloadable SALN form which she filled up and dated as of the time of its writing, i.e., July 27, 2010. She claims that she never misrepresented the same to be her 2006 exit SALN from U.P. According to her, she in fact considers her 2006 SALN as one of the missing SALNs she is still trying to locate.

Respondent claims that she could not recall all the circumstances why her 1998 SALN was executed only in 2003 which, according to her, was reasonable since it happened l5 years ago. She claims that there is no law prohibiting her from submitting the same, and the fact that the SALN was filed serves the purpose of the law and negates any intention to hide unexplained wealth.

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Re: Opinions by SC on the Sereno quo warranto case, full text/s
« Reply #27 on: May 24, 2018, 03:17:02 PM »

Decision                             26                             G.R. No. 237428

It is also respondent's position that the omission of her husband's signature on her 2011 SALN was inadvertent and was not an offense. According to her, it could not adversely impact on her integrity absent any allegation or finding that she acquired ill-gotten wealth. She argues that the Civil Service Commission's Guidelines which require the signature of the spouse who is not a public officer, was promulgated only in January 2013.

With regard to the jewelry she acquired from 1986 to 1991 which were supposedly declared in her 1991 SALN but were undeclared in her 1990 SALN, respondent avers that these assets were actually declared in her 1985 and 1989 SALNs, and they were consistently declared in all her subsequent SALNs beginning 1991. According to respondent, she should not be faulted for her inadvertent omission to declare such assets in her 1990 SALN as her declaration of the same thereafter is consistent with good faith and cured whatever error there may have been in her 1990 SALN. She argues that said assets were not manifestly disproportionate to her lawful income and even as a U.P. Professor, she could have afforded to purchase jewelry worth PhP15,000.00 over a span of six (6) years.

Finally, respondent argues that it is an "unreasonable and oppressive" interpretation of the law to reckon her entry SALN as Associate Justice of the Court from the date of her appointment (August 16, 2010) and not from Decemb~r 31, 2009 when it was actually filed. Respondent contends that R.A. No. 6713 only requires that the SALN be filed "within thirty days after assumption of office" - a directive she supposedly complied with. She argues that while the Implementing Rules and Regulations ofR.A. No. 6713 state that the SALN should be reckoned from the first day of service, the law provides for a review and compliance procedure which requires that a reporting individual first be informed and provided an opportunity to take necessary corrective action should there be any error in her SALN. Respondent avers that she did not receive any notice or compliance order informing her that her entry SALN was erroneous, and she was not directed to take the necessary corrective action.

The Respondent's Reply/Supplement to Memorandum

At the close of the Oral Argument, granted upon respondent's Ad Cautelam motion, the Court specifically required the parties to submit their respective memoranda within a non-extendible period of ten (10) days, after which, the petition shall be submitted for decision. Notwithstanding such clear directive from the Court, and even without being required to, respondent moves (again Ad Cautelam) for the inclusion of her Reply/Supplement to her memorandum filed beyond the period granted by the Court to the parties. The belated filing of said Reply/Supplement in disregard of the Court's directive merits its non-admission. Nevertheless, as the Court remains circumspect of the pleadings submitted by the parties and

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Re: Opinions by SC on the Sereno quo warranto case, full text/s
« Reply #28 on: May 24, 2018, 03:33:32 PM »

Decision                             27                             G.R. No. 237428

in accordance with the dictates of due process and fair play, respondent's Reply/Supplement to her Memorandum, albeit filed Ad Cautelam, is admitted.

Respondent raises two points in her Reply/Supplement: first, the new matter of tax fraud allegedly committed by her; and second, the forum shopping allegedly committed by the Republic.

Respondent sought to address the inclusion of the charge of tax fraud allegedly committed by her relative to the fees she received in the PIATCO cases which respondent argues to have been raised by the Republic only in its memorandum. Respondent denies having concealed or under declared her income in the PIATCO cases. She further points out that the Summary and the Powerpoint presentation prepared by BIR Deputy Commissioner Guballa and which were attached to the Republic's memorandum were incomplete, inaccurate and merely preliminary. In any case, respondent avers that BIR Deputy Commissioner Guballa himself found that respondent had "substantially declared all income (legal fees) from the PIATCO case in her ITRs from years 2004 to 2009 BUT there were certain discrepancies."(88)

Respondent also accuses the Republic of having committed deliberate forum-shopping in filing the action for quo warranto even when the impeachment proceeding was already pending before the House of Representatives. Contending that all the elements of forum-shopping are present, respondent points to the (1) identity of parties between the quo warranto action and the impeachment case inasmuch as the House Committee on Justice is also part of the Government; (2) identity of causes of action considering that the quo warranto case is based on respondent's alleged lack of proven integrity for failure to file all her SALNs when she was teaching at the U.P. College of Law and for concealing her true income and evasion of taxes which were the same attacks on her eligibility and qualifications as enumerated in the Articles of Impeachment; and (3) identity in the relief sought as both the quo warranto and the impeachment sought her removal from the Office of the Chief Justice.

The Motions for Intervention

Through a Joint Motion for Leave to Intervene and Admit Attached Comment-In-Intervention, movant-intervenors composed of (1) former CEO of PAG-IBIG Fund, Zorayda Amelia Capistrano Alonzo, (2) peace & human rights advocate Remedios Mapa Suplido, (3) urban poor advocate Alicia Gentolia Murphy, ( 4) Chairperson of Pambansang Kilusan ng mga Samahang Magsasaka (PAKISAMA) Noland Merida Penas, (5) Fr. Roberto Reyes, and (6) poet, feminist & youth advocate Reyanne Joy P. Librado (Capistrano, et al.,) seek to intervene in the present petition as citizens and

-------
88 Respondent's Reply/Supplement to Memorandum Ad Cautelam.
Decision 28 G.R. No. 237

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« Reply #29 on: May 24, 2018, 03:49:48 PM »

Decision                             28                             G.R. No. 237428

taxpayers.

The comment-in-intervention is a virtual echo of the arguments raised in respondent's comment that quo warranto is an improper remedy against impeachable officials who may be removed only by impeachment and that the application of the PET rules are limited only to the President and Vice President who are elective, and not appointive, officials. Movant-intervenors similarly argue that the petition is already time-barred as the cause of action arose upon respondent's appointment as Chief Justice on August 24, 2012 or almost six (6) years ago.

Capistrano et al. argue that it is not incumbent upon respondent to prove to the JBC that she possessed the integrity required by the Constitution for members of the Judiciary; rather, the onus of determining whether or not she qualified for the post fell upon the JBC. They also posit that nowhere in the Constitution is the submission of all prior SALNs required; instead, what is required is that all aspiring justices of the Court must have the imprimatur of the JBC, the best proof of which is a person's inclusion in the shortlist.

Capistrano et al. persuade that respondent's explanation that her government records in the academe for 15 years are irretrievable is reasonable and that respondent did not mislead the JBC. On the contrary, they claim that the JBC accepted her explanation when it deemed respondent as qualified. In doing so, they conclude, that the JBC determined that she possessed the integrity as required by the Constitution.

A few hours after the filing of the Capistrano et. al.,'s Comment-in-Intervention, another set of intervenors composed of: (1) BAYAN MUNA Representative (Rep.) Carlos Isagani Zarate; (2) ACT Teachers Partylist Rep. Antonio Tinio & Francisca Castro; (3) GABRIELA Women's Party Rep. Emerenciana De Jesus & Arlene Brosas; (3) ANAKPAWIS Partylist Rep. Ariel Casilao; (5) KABATAAN Partylist Rep. Sarah Jane Elago; (6) Convenors and members of Movement Against Tyranny (MAT), namely: Francisco A. Alcuaz, Bonifacio P. Ilagan, & Col. George A. Rabusa (Ret. ); (7) Former Senator Rene A.V. Saguisag; ( 8 ) Bishop Broderick S. Pabillo, D.D.; (9) Secretary Gen. of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) Renato M. Reyes, Jr.; (10) Member of MDD Youth (an Affiliate of Aksyon Demokratiko) Kaye Ann Legaspi; and (11) Secretary General of National Union of People's Lawyers Atty. Ephraim B. Cortez (Zarate, et al.,) filed a Motion for Leave to File Motion to Intervene and Opposition-in-Intervention, pursuant to Rule 19 of the Rules of Court. They claim that as citizens and taxpayers, they have a legal interest in the matter of respondent's ouster or removal.

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« Reply #30 on: May 29, 2018, 12:51:02 PM »

Decision                              29                             G.R. No. 237428

Zarate et al. raise the similar argument that the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court may only be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, culpable violation of the constitution, treason, bribery, graft and corruption, other high crimes, or betrayal of public trust and that it is only the Congress who has the power to remove the Chief Justice through the exclusive mode of impeachment.

They further argue that the issue of respondent's non-submission of complete SALNs, without more, does not have the effect of putting to question her integrity as she did not conceal her SALNs. They argue that the qualification of having a "proven integrity" is a standard subject to the discretion of, first, the JBC who submits the list of qualified candidates; and second, of the President, who will select among the shortlist whom to appoint as Chief Justice.

Movant-Intervenor Rene A.V. Saguisag subsequently filed a Supplement to Motion for Leave to File Motion to Intervene and Opposition-in-Intervention Cum Petition to Recuse seeking the inhibition of unnamed Members of this Court who "may have prematurely thrown their weight on the other side, actually or perceptually" on the ground that respondent is entitled to an impartial arbiter.

As well, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) filed its Motion for Leave to File and to Admit Attached Opposition-in-Intervention as an organization of all Philippine lawyers, having the fundamental duty to uphold the Constitution and an interest in ensuring the validity of the appointments to the Judiciary. The IBP's arguments reflect the arguments of the respondent and the other movant-intervenors that the quo warranto petition is time-barred and is unavailable against an impeachable officer. The IBP further argues that the determination of whether respondent is of "proven integrity" belongs to the JBC and which question the Court cannot inquire into without violating the separation of powers. It is likewise the contention of the IBP that the petition is fatally flawed since the JBC never required the submission of respondent's SALNs from 2001 to 2006.

Also seeking to intervene in the instant petition, Senators Leila M. De Lima (Senator De Lima) and Antonio F. Trillanes IV (Senator Trillanes) as citizens, taxpayers, and senators of the Republic, filed a Motion to Intervene and Admit Attached Opposition-In-Intervention (Ad Cautelam) on April 4, 2018.

In the said Motion, Senators De Lima and Trillanes assert that they possess a clear legal interest, both personal and official, in the subject matter of the Republic's petition to oust the Chief justice on the ground that she does not possess the constitutional requirement of integrity. According to Senators De Lima and Trillanes, they have the right and duty to uphold the

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Re: Opinions by SC on the Sereno quo warranto case, full text/s
« Reply #31 on: May 29, 2018, 01:03:36 PM »

Decision                             30                             G.R. No. 237428

Constitution and to oppose government actions that are clearly and patently unconstitutional. It is also Senators De Lima and Trillanes' theory that the instant quo warranto case is aimed to deprive the Senate of its jurisdiction as the impeachment tribunal. They argue that their mandated duty as judges in the possible impeachment trial of the Chief Justice will be pre-empted and negated if the quo warranto petition will be granted. Their claimed legal interest in their intervention in and opposition to the petition for quo warranto is mainly anchored upon their duty and prerogatives as Senators-judges in an impeachment trial and to protect the institution of impeachment as a mode of enforcing accountability.

Senators De Lima and Trillanes' Opposition-In-Intervention is a mere reiteration of the respondent's argument that this Court has no jurisdiction over a petition for quo warranto against an impeachable officer. They argue that the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court is, by express provision of the Constitution, removable from office exclusively by impeachment. They also aver that the ground raised in the petition for quo warranto - lack of integrity for failing to submit one's SALN - is part of the allegations in the impeachment case being heard in the House of Representatives. Thus, they argue that the use of an identical ground in a quo warranto proceeding directly undermines the jurisdiction of the Senate to hear and decide impeachment cases and the prerogative of the senators to try the same.

Senators De Lima and Trillanes also advance the argument that the Constitution identifies and enumerates only three qualifications for appointment to the Supreme Court: (1) natural born citizenship; (2) age, i.e., at least forty years; and (3) an experience of at least 15 years either as judge of a lower court or in the practice of law in the Philippines. They assert that the filing of a SALN, taking of psychological or physical examination, and similar requirements, are merely discretionary administrative requirements for consideration of the JBC, not Constitutional requirements, hence, can be waived, removed entirely, or adjusted by the JBC in the exercise of its discretion. According to the said movant-intervenors, Section 7(3), Article VIII of the 1987 Constitution, which states that,"[ a] Member of the Judiciary must be a person of proven competence, integrity, probity, and independence", does not speak of objective constitutional qualifications, but only of subjective characteristics of a judge. They, therefore, contend that "qualifications" such as citizenship, age, and experience are enforceable while "characteristics" such as competence, integrity, ,probity, and independence are mere subjective considerations.

Corollarily, Senators De Lima and Trillanes argue that the subjective considerations are not susceptible to analysis with tools of legal doctrine. Hence, questions on this matter are for the consideration of political institutions under the Constitution, i.e., the JBC and the President (prior to appointment) and the House of Representatives and the Senate (after

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« Reply #32 on: May 29, 2018, 01:12:22 PM »

Decision                              31                          G.R. No. 237428

appointment).

The Motions for Inhibition

By way of separately filed motions, respondent seeks affirmative relief, in the form of the inhibition of five (5) Justices of the Court, the jurisdiction of which she questions and assails. Respondent prays for the inhibition of Associate Justices Lucas P. Bersamin, Diosdado M. Peralta, Francis H. Jardeleza, Noel Gimenez Tijam, and Teresita J. Leonardo-De Castro from hearing and deciding the present petition.

In common, respondent imputes actual bias on said Justices for having testified before the House Committee on Justice on the impeachment complaint. In particular, respondent considered Justice Bersamin's allusion to respondent as a "dictator" and his personal resentment about the supposed withdrawal of the privilege previously enjoyed by the members of the Court to recommend nominees to vacant positions in the Judiciary, as evidence of actual bias.

Justice Peralta's inhibition, on the other hand, is being sought because as then Acting ex officio Chairperson of the JBC when respondent was nominated for appointment as Chief Justice, he would have personal knowledge of disputed evidentiary facts concerning the proceedings and for having served as a material witness in the matter in controversy.

Justice Jardeleza's inhibition is sought on the ground that his testimony before the House Committee on Justice reveals that he harbors ill feelings towards respondent on account of the latter's challenge to his integrity during the nomination process for the Associate Justice position vice Justice Roberto A. Abad which he characterized as "inhumane".

Respondent seeks the inhibition of Justice Tijam based on the latter's statement as quoted in a Manila Times article to the effect that if respondent continues to ignore and to refuse to participate in the impeachment process, she is clearly liable for culpable violation of the Constitution.

Respondent likewise made mention that Justice Tijam and Justice Bersamin wore a touch of red during the "Red Monday" protest on March 12, 2018 wherein judges and court employees reportedly called on respondent to make the supreme sacrifice and resign.

Respondent also calls for the inhibition of Justice De Castro for having allegedly prejudged the issue as regards the validity of respondent's nomination and appointment in 2012 when Justice De Castro testified under oath during the House Committee on Justice hearings that respondent should have been disqualified from the shortlist on account of the SALNs she

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Re: Opinions by SC on the Sereno quo warranto case, full text/s
« Reply #33 on: May 29, 2018, 01:32:39 PM »

Decision                             32                             G.R. No. 237428

allegedly failed to submit.

At the last minute, respondent also seeks to disqualify Justice Samuel R. Martires for his purported insinuations during the Oral Arguments questioning her "mental" or "psychological" fitness on the basis of her belief that God is "the source of everything in (her) life."(89)

Respondent also prays that the Ad Cautelam Respectful Motions for Inhibitions of Associate Justices Peralta, Leonardo-De Castro, Jardeleza, Tijam, Bersamin and Martires be resolved by the Court En Banc, without the participation of the Justices she seeks to disqualify.

The Issues

From the arguments raised by the parties and the issues as delineated in the Advisory governing the special Oral Arguments by way of accommodation to respondent, the paramount issues to be resolved by the Court are:

1. Whether the Court can assume jurisdiction and give due course to the instant petition for quo warranto against respondent who is an impeachable officer and against whom an impeachment complaint has already been filed with the House of Representatives;

2. Whether the petition is outrightly dismissible on the ground of prescription;

3. Whether respondent is eligible for the position of Chief Justice:

    a. Whether the determination of a candidate's eligibility for nomination is the sole and exclusive function of the JBC and whether such determination. partakes of the character of a political question outside the Court's supervisory and review powers;

    b. Whether respondent failed to file her SALNs as mandated by the Constitution and required by the law and its implementing rules and regulations; and if so, whether the failure to file SALNs voids the nomination and appointment of respondent as Chief Justice;

    c. Whether respondent failed to comply with the submission of SALNs as required by the JBC; and if so, whether the failure to submit SALNs to the JBC voids the nomination and appointment of respondent as Chief Justice;

-------
89 Id.

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Re: Opinions by SC on the Sereno quo warranto case, full text/s
« Reply #34 on: May 29, 2018, 02:16:01 PM »

Decision                             33                             G.R. No. 237428

    d. In case of a finding that respondent is ineligible to hold the position of Chief Justice, whether the subsequent nomination by the JBC and the appointment by the President cured such ineligibility.

4. Whether respondent is a de Jure or de facto officer.

The Ruling of the Court

Preliminary Issues

Intervention is an ancillary remedy
restricted in purpose and in time


Intervention is a remedy by which a third party, not originally impleaded in the proceedings, becomes a litigant therein for a certain purpose: to enable the third party to protect or preserve a right or interest that may be affected by those proceedings.(90)

Nevertheless, the remedy of intervention is not a matter of right but rests on the sound discretion of the court upon compliance with the first requirement on legal interest and the second requirement that no delay and prejudice should result as spelled out under Section 1, Rule 19 of the Rules of Court, as follows:

    Sec. 1. Who may intervene. - A person who has a legal interest in the matter in litigation, or in the success of either of the parties, or an interest against both, or is so situated as to be adversely affected by a distribution or other disposition of property in the custody of the court or of an officer thereof may, with leave of court, be allowed to intervene in the action. The court shall consider whether or not the intervention will unduly delay or prejudice the adjudication of the rights of the original parties, and whether or not the intervenor's rights may be fully protected in a separate proceeding.

Each of the movant-intervenors in this case seek to intervene as citizens and taxpayers, whose claimed interest to justify their intervention is their "sense of patriotism and their common desire to protect and uphold the Philippine Constitution". The movant-intervenors further assert a "public right" to intervene in the instant case by virtue of its "transcendental importance for the Filipino people as a whole". Apart from such naked allegations, movant-intervenors failed to establish to the Court's satisfaction the required legal interest. Our jurisprudence is well-settled on the matter:

Intervention is not a matter of absolute right but may be permitted by the court when the applicant shows facts which satisfy the requirements of the statute authorizing intervention. Under our Rules of Court, what qualifies a person to intervene is his possession of a legal

-------
90 Hi-Tone Marketing Corp. v. Baikal Realty Corp., 480 Phil. 545, 569 (2004).

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Re: Opinions by SC on the Sereno quo warranto case, full text/s
« Reply #35 on: May 29, 2018, 05:56:59 PM »

Decision                             34                             G.R. No. 237428

interest in the matter in litigation or in the success of either of the parties, or an interest against both; or when he is so situated as to be adversely affected by a distribution or other disposition of property in the custody of the court or an officer thereof. As regards the legal interest as qualifying factor, this Court has ruled that such interest must be of a direct and immediate character so that the intervenor will either gain or lose by the direct legal operation of the judgment. The interest must be actual and material, a concern which is more than mere curiosity, or academic or sentimental desire; it must not be indirect and contingent, indirect and remote, conjectural, consequential or collateral.x x x. (91) (Emphasis ours)

Clearly, herein movant-intervenors' sentiments, no matter how noble, do not, in any way, come within the purview of the concept of "legal interest" contemplated under the Rules to justify the allowance of intervention. Movant-intervenors failed to show any legal interest of such nature that they will "either gain or lose by the direct legal operation of the judgment". Even the IBP's assertion of their "fundamental duty to uphold the Constitution, advocate for the rule of law, and safeguard the administration of justice", being the official organization of all Philippine lawyers, will not suffice. Admittedly, their interest is merely out of "sentimental desire" to uphold the rule of law. Meanwhile, Senators De Lima and Trillanes' claimed legal interest is mainly grounded upon their would-be participation in the impeachment trial as Senators-judges if the articles of impeachment will be filed before the Senate as the impeachment court. Nevertheless, the fact remains that as of the moment, such interest is still contingent on the filing of the articles of impeachment before the Senate. It bears stressing that the interest contemplated by law must be actual, substantial, material, direct and immediate, and not simply contingent or expectant.(92)

Indeed, if every person, not parties to the action but assert their desire to uphold the rule of law and the Constitution, were allowed to intervene, proceedings would become unnecessarily complicated, expensive, and interminable.(93)

Emphatically, a quo warranto proceeding is an action by the government against individuals unlawfully holding an office. Section 1, Rule 66 provides:

Section 1. Action by Government against individuals. - An action for the usurpation of a public office, position or franchise may be commenced by a verified petition brought in the name of the Republic of the Philippines against:

-------
91 Ongco v. Dalisay, 691 Phil. 462, 469-4 70 (2012) citing Hon. Executive Secretary, et al. v.
Northeast Freight Forwarders, Inc.
, 600 Phil. 789, 799 (2009).
92 Mactan-Cebu International Airport Authority v. Heirs of Estanis/ao Mifloza, 656 Phil. 537, 547
(2011 ).
93 Id. at 547-548.

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« Reply #36 on: May 29, 2018, 09:25:15 PM »

Decision                             35                             G.R. No. 237428

    (a) A person who usurps, intrudes into, or unlawfully holds or exercises a public office, position or franchise;
 
    (b) A public officer who does or suffers an act which, by the provision of law, constitutes a ground for the forfeiture of his office; or

    (c) An association which acts as a corporation within the Philippines without being legally incorporated or without lawful authority so to act.


The remedy of quo warranto is vested in the people, and not in any private individual or group, because disputes over title to public office are viewed as a public question of governmental legitimacy and not merely a private quarrel among rival claimants.(94)

Newman v. United States ex Rel. Frizzell, (95) historically traced the nature of quo warranto proceedings as a crime which could only be prosecuted in the name of the King by his duly authorized law officers. In time, the criminal features of quo warranto proceedings were modified and as such, the writ came to be used as a means to determine which of two claimants was entitled to an office and to order the ouster and the payment of a fine against the usurper. This quasi-criminal nature of quo warranto proceedings was adopted in some American states. Nonetheless, Newman explains that the Code of the District of Colombia, which was the venue of the case, continues to treat usurpation of office as a public wrong which can be corrected only by proceeding in the name of the government itself. Thus:

In a sense - in a very important sense - every citizen and every taxpayer is interested in the enforcement of law, in the administration of law, and in having only qualified officers execute the law. But that general interest is not a private, but a public interest. Being such, it is to be  represented by the Attorney General or the District Attorney, who are expected by themselves or those they authorize to institute quo warranto proceedings against usurpers in the same way that they are expected to institute proceedings against any other violator of the law. That general public interest is not sufficient to authorize a private citizen to institute such proceedings, for, if it was, then every citizen and every taxpayer would have the same interest and the same right to institute such proceedings, and a public officer might, from the beginning to the end of his term, be harassed with proceedings to try his title.

The only time that an individual, in his own name, may bring an action for quo warranto is when such individual has a claim over the position in question. Section 5 of Rule 66 of the Rules of Court provides:

-----
94 Oakland Municipal Improvement league v. City of Oakland (1972) 23 Cal. App. 30 165, 170.
95 238 U.S. 537 (1915).

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xx - Opinions by SC on the Sereno quo warranto case, full text/s - Philippine Government
Re: Opinions by SC on the Sereno quo warranto case, full text/s
« Reply #37 on: May 29, 2018, 09:53:44 PM »

Decision                             36                             G.R. No. 237428

    Section 5. When an individual may commence such an action. - A person claiming to be entitled to a public office or position usurped or unlawfully held or exercised by another may bring an action therefor in his own name.

In this case, the movants-intervenors are neither individuals claiming to be entitled to the questioned position nor are they the ones charged with the usurpation thereof.

Furthermore, it should be emphasized that the movants-intervenors, in their respective Motions, presented nothing more than a mere reiteration of respondent's allegations and arguments in her Comment.

For these reasons, the Court, in its Resolution(96) dated April 3, 2018, resolved to deny the motions for intervention respectively filed by Capistrano et al., and Zarate et al., and to note the IBP's intervention. For similar reasons, the Court resolves to deny the motion for intervention of Senators De Lima and Trillanes.

No basis for the Associate Justices
of the Supreme Court to inhibit in
the case


The instant petition comes at the heels of the recently-concluded hearings on the determination of probable cause in the impeachment complaint against respondent before the House Committee on Justice. Several Members of the Court, both incumbent and retired, were invited, under pain of contempt, to serve as resource persons. Those Members who were present at the Committee hearings were armed with the requisite imprimatur of the Court En Banc, given that the Members are to testify only on matters within their personal knowledge and insofar as material and relevant to the issues being heard. For lack of particularity, the Court supposes that the attendance of some of its Members in the House Committee hearings is the basis of movant-intervenor Saguisag's motion to recuse.

On the other hand, respondent was more emphatic when she sought affirmative relief, in the form of the inhibition of six ( 6) Justices, of the Court, whose jurisdiction she questions and assails. Specifically, respondent prays for· the inhibition of Associate Justices Lucas P. Bersamin, Diosdado M. Peralta, Francis H. Jardeleza, Noel Gimenez Tijam, Teresita J. Leonardo-De Castro and Samuel R. Martires fundamentally on the ground of actual bias for having commonly testified before the House Committee on Justice on the impeachment case.

-------
96 Rollo, pp. 501-505.

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Re: Opinions by SC on the Sereno quo warranto case, full text/s
« Reply #38 on: May 30, 2018, 03:27:52 AM »

Decision                             37                             G.R. No. 237428

As for Justice Samuel R. Martires, respondent concludes Justice Martires' manifested actual bias based on his statements during the Oral Arguments which purportedly tended to question respondent's mental and psychological fitness.

In particular, respondent seeks the inhibition of Justice Tijam based on the latter's statement as quoted in a Manila Times article to the effect that if respondent continues to ignore and to refuse to participate in the impeachment process, she is clearly liable for culpable violation of the Constitution.

Respondent cites the article entitled, "Appear in Congress or vio1ate Constitution," dated December 4, 2017, where Justice Tijam was purportedly quoted to have said:

Impeachment is a constitutional process and a mandate enshrined in the Constitution. Justices took an oath to defend, preserve, protect the Constitution. If Chief Justice Sereno continues to ignore and continues to refuse to participate in the impeachment process, ergo, she is clearly liable for culpable violation of the Constitution. (emphasis supplied)

Respondent claims that the aforesaid statements of Justice Tijam are indicative of his stance that there may be a ground to impeach and remove respondent from office, which is also the objective of the quo warranto petition against her.

Ultimately, the cause for inhibition simmers to the question of whether, in so appearing and testifying before the House Committee on Justice, the Members of the Court are precluded from hearing and deciding the instant petition for quo warranto. To this, the Court answers in the negative.

Jurisprudence recognizes the right of litigants to seek disqualification of judges. Indeed, elementary due process requires a hearing before an impartial and disinterested tribunal. "A judge has both the duty of rendering a just decision and the duty of doing it in a manner completely free from suspicion as to its fairness and as to his integrity."(97)

However, the right of a party to seek the inhibition or disqualification of a judge who does not appear to be wholly free, disinterested, impartial and independent in handling the case must be balanced with the latter's sacred duty to decide cases without fear of repression. The movant must therefore prove the ground of bias and prejudice by clear and convincing evidence to disqualify a judge from participating in a particular trial. "[W]hile it is settled principle that opinions formed in the course of judicial

-------
97 Query of Exec. Judge Estrada, RTC, Malolos, Bulacan, 239 Phil. 1, 6 (1987).

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Re: Opinions by SC on the Sereno quo warranto case, full text/s
« Reply #39 on: June 09, 2018, 01:44:34 AM »

Decision                             38                             G.R. No. 237428

proceedings, based on the evidence presented and conduct observed by the judge, do not prove personal bias or prejudice on the part of the judge."(98)

A circumspect reading of Justice Tijam's statements in the Manila Times article reveals that the manifest intent of the statements was only to prod respondent to observe and respect the constitutional process of impeachment, and to exemplify the ideals of public accountability, thus:

    He added that he wanted to encourage Sereno to show up at the Congress hearings "to respect and participate in the impeachment (process), and to defend herself and protect the institution."

    Sereno, he said, should be a role model when it comes to respecting the Constitution.

    "Impeachment is not an invention of politicians. It was drafted by the framers of the Constitution. Media, which propagates the myth that impeachment is a numbers game, hence, is political and arbitrary, fails to emphasize the fact that the rule of the majority is the essence of democracy," the m_agistrate stressed.

    Tijam believes that the impeachment process against Sereno is not an attack on the high court or the Judiciary because the Supreme Court does not consist of the chief justice alone.

    "Impeachment is [neither] an assault on the Judiciary nor an infringement on the independence of the Judiciary, because it is enshrined in the Constitution.  Parenthetically, when the SC strikes down acts of Congress and acts of the President and the Executive Department for being unlawful and unconstitutional, the SC is not assaulting the independence of Congress and the Executive Department because the expanded power of judicial review is enshrined in the Constitution," Tijam pointed out.

    Sereno, he said, should be a role model when it comes to respecting the Constitution.(99) (Emphasis ours)


Notably, respondent conveniently and casually invoked only a portion of the article which suited her objective of imputing bias against Justice Tijam.

As to the act of wearing a red tie which purportedly establishes Justices Tijam and Bersamin's prejudice against her, the argument is baseless and unfair. There is no basis, whether in logic or in law, to establish a connection between a piece of clothing and a magistrate's performance of adjudicatory functions. Absent compelling proof to the contrary, the red piece of clothing was merely coincidental and should not be deemed a sufficient ground to disqualify them.

-------
98 People v. Hon. Ong, 523 Phil. 347, 358 (2006).
99 <http://www.manilatimes.net/appear-congress-violate-constitution/366575/> (visited on April 6,
2018).

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