The Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday gave Solicitor General Jose Calida five days to reply to Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno's comment on his petition questioning the validity of her appointment.
The court gave the order to Calida following Tuesday's en banc session, according to Theodore Te, SC Public Information Office chief.
Through one of her lawyers, Sereno on Monday sought the dismissal of Calida's petition for quo warranto for lack of merit and jurisdiction.
Calida seeks to remove Sereno from office because she allegedly failed the "integrity" requirement for a chief justice when she did not submit the "required" number of Statements of Assets and Liabilities to the Judicial and Bar Council when she was applying for the post in 2012.
But in a 77-page comment, Sereno insisted that an impeachable officer, such as herself, can only be removed through impeachment, as provided by the Constitution and buttressed by jurisprudence.
The high tribunal "cannot take cognizance of or give due course to the OSG petition without running afoul of the plain dictates of the fundamental law and established judicial precedents," she said.
"To rule otherwise, and to preempt the impeachment process by summarily ousting the chief justice via quo warranto, would be tantamount to overthrowing the Constitution itself," she also said.
Sereno has repeatedly expressed her preference for a Senate impeachment trial, a proceeding she is one step closer to after the House justice committee approved six articles of impeachment against her.
If these articles clear the House plenary, they would be transmitted to the Senate, which would sit as an impeachment court.
The top magistrate is currently on an indefinite leave from the SC as she prepares for her legal defense at a possible Senate trial.
Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio leads the tribunal in her absence. —KBK, GMA News