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Sereno says dictatorship will prevail if SC votes for her ouster

Supreme Court (SC) Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno said Tuesday that judicial independence and the freedom of the people will be threatened should her fellow justices vote to oust her on May 11.

"Diktadurya ang magwawagi at mananalig sa bansa kung manalo ang quo warranto petition at patay na ang judicial independence," Sereno said in Adamson University's "Women on Fire" forum.

Sereno also said "barkadahan" is threatening to overwhelm the independent-thinking magistrates of the SC, which she said must abide by the constitution instead of deciding by personal alliances and grievances.

"Ang essence po ng isang judge, hindi po kami barkadahan kundi independent-thinking magistrates po kami na kahit anong banggaan, ang aming pong opinyon may lalabas pa ring desisyon. Kailangan naming kayang tiisin ang isa't-isa pagkat dapat kaya naming tiising ang napakalalakas na independenteng personalidad," she said.

Sereno continued: "Ngunit kung barkadahan po at yung barkadang ito ay sisirain mismo ang konstitusyon, ang rules hindi susundin, ang jurisprudence ay babaliktarin at sasabihin bawal ang sa ganyan kasi hindi siya kabarkada, mamamatay po ang judicial independence."

A source told GMA News that the SC on Friday will vote on the quo warranto petitions filed by Solicitor General Jose Calida filed against Sereno.

Supreme Court spokesperson Attorney Theodore Te denied reports that majority of the justices have already voted for the quo warranto petition against Sereno.

Reports said that majority of the SC justices believe that Sereno's appointment as Chief Justice by then-President Benigno Aquino III in 2012 was not valid.

Sereno has always been confident that the SC magistrates will junk the petition.

The chief justice, who is on-leave to prepare for her impeachment trial at the Senate, has asked six fellow magistrates to recuse from the quo warranto case due to alleged bias.

These magistrates include Associate Justices Samuel Martires, Teresita de Castro, Noel Tijam, Lucas Bersamin, Francis Jardeleza, and Diosdado Peralta. —ALG, GMA News