It was all over officially for ousted Supreme Court chief justice Lourdes Sereno last May 11, when the SC en banc, in a 8-6 decision, ruled that its CJ was ineligible for the high post, as her appointment was null and void.
Truth is, instead of making a graceful exit by resigning her post, she went all out in destroying the institution and its justices and other democratic institutions while issuing misleading statements, in her bid to gain for herself public support and sympathy.
Sereno knew early enough that she was not going to win against the quo warranto filed against her, especially after the oral arguments where she disgraced herself. But she and her spokesmen continued to spread their false message that Sereno had been denied her constitutional right to defend herself, even when she was given all the opportunities to defend herself—whether it was in the House justice committee, or the High Court.
About the only time Sereno realized that she was in danger of being disbarred for her many speeches in different forums, blasting away at the High Court, the Solicitor-General and accusing President Duterte of having influenced the SolGen and the High Court justices into ousting her, was when she was ordered by the SC to explain her actions against the High Court.
She suddenly grew quiet, stopping her unfounded criticisms against those who she claimed were “biased” justices.
Then came the “final and executory” ruling ousting her which should not have allowed a Motion for Reconsideration (MR) from Sereno and her counsels.
However, given the fact that Sereno and her propaganda team kept on claiming that the ousted chief justice has been denied her rights, the SC still accepted her MR, even when it was clear that there would be no change in the original decision to kick her out of the SC.
It is even clearer that she is finally out of the High Court, as reports have come out that Sereno’s portrait as CJ has been removed from the official list of incumbent justices in its website.
Her name and photo have disappeared from the usual space for the chief justice which were noticed since last week.
What this means is that it will be as if officially, there has never been a chief justice named Lourdes Sereno, precisely because her appointment by her yellow patron in exchange for his lifelong protection from prosecution, was null and void from the start.
Had she been honest with herself and accepted her fate by resigning even before the justices came up with the decision, her portrait will still be hanging in the SC walls and her name would still be forever listed as the first woman chief justice of the Philippines.
Yet she insisted on going out of the SC with a bang, perhaps believing that with her ouster, she would not only be a hero in her claimed fight for her twisted sense of justice but also that her ouster by her peers will cause the destruction of the Supreme Court.
As the SC acting CJ Antonio Carpio stated, the Court is back to normal and functioning well despite the ouster of its chief justice.
Carpio over the weekend assured reporters that the SC continues to perform its constitutional duties even after Sereno’s removal from the top judicial post as ordered by a majority of the justices.
“The Supreme Court is an institution; we are functioning normally. We’ve been deciding cases normally and we’ll be holding oral arguments normally, so we are doing our work normally,” he told reporters in a chance interview during the 117th founding anniversary celebration at the High Court.
What is more probable is that the SC functions even better now that Sereno is out of the SC.
It is difficult to fathom why Sereno and her counsels believed that she could win her case against the SolGen’s quo warranto filed before the High Court, since she, of all people, knew that she had not filed her Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Networth and therefore failed in meeting the Judicial and Bar Council’s requirements with the JBC even going to the extent of covering up for her, accepting her manufactured SALNs, obviously on the order of then President Noynoy Aquino.
The JBC wouldn’t have covered up for her without having been given orders from the higher ups, given the fact Sereno was just a junior associate justice then when she applied for the top post.
Still, even if there will be no shred of evidence that she had ever been an SC chief justice, Sereno can always make a run for a Senate seat next year, and even the presidency in 2022.
That is, if she has enough support from her usual red, white and yellow supporters.