Sereno appeals ouster ruling, insists 'biased' justices' votes must not count

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 30) — The camp of former Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno on Wednesday asked the Supreme Court to reconsider its ruling to unseat her.

In a 205-page motion for reconsideration, Sereno's camp said the High Court's May 11 ruling is "null and void" as it violated the ousted top judge's right to due process.

"The existence of an impartial tribunal is an indispensable prerequisite of due process," the motion read.

It reiterated that the six associate justices – Diosdado Peralta, Lucas Bersamin, Francis Jardeleza, Noel Tijam, Samuel Martires, and Teresita Leonardo-de Castro – should have inhibited themselves from hearing and voting on Sereno's case for being partial.

"With due respect, contrary to the findings in the Decision, there is clear and convincing evidence that the six Justices sought to be disqualified harbor actual bias, or worse, hostile feelings, against the Respondent," the motion read.

Sereno's camp claims the justices had prejudged Sereno's case, as evidenced by statements they made in the impeachment hearings of the House Committee on Justice and the ouster hearing at the Supreme Court. All six voted against Sereno, forming the bulk of the 8-6 vote that unseated her.

If only two of them change their mind and vote in favor of Sereno's motion for reconsideration, the earlier ruling would be reversed, allowing Sereno to return as chief magistrate.

The high court's granting of the quo warranto petition filed by the government's top lawyer, Solicitor General Jose Calida, is highly contested, as senators and many in the legal community maintain that impeachment is the only way to unseat a Chief Justice. An impeachment was underway in Congress, but is now considered moot after the Supreme Court decision.