SUPREME Court Chief Justice on-leave Maria Lourdes Sereno has painted herself into a corner.
Not only has she made enemies among her fellow magistrates in the highest court of the land, who are now trying a quo warranto case filed against her by Solicitor General Jose Calida.
She has also incurred the ire of President Rodrigo Duterte for insinuating that he is the mastermind behind Calida’s filing of charges. The Chief Executive declared “I am now your enemy” before leaving for China last week and ordered his partymates in the House of Representatives to fast-track Sereno’s impeachment.
House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez said his chamber would be able to approve the Articles of Impeachment against Sereno within one to two weeks from the resumption of legislative sessions on May 15.
It is already a foregone conclusion that the vote of at least one-third of the House needed to impeach the embattled Chief Justice would be readily attained.
Henceforth, the case will be transmitted to the Senate for trial. The administration coalition in the upper house has enough votes to find the accused guilty of the charges against her.
However, Alvarez said the impeachment process would be rendered moot and academic should the Supreme Court rule in favor of Calida in the quo warranto case, which is a separate legal course of action questioning the validity of Sereno’s appointment as Justice and as Chief Justice.
He wondered: “Who are we going to impeach if she turns out to be a fake Chief Justice or a fake Justice? If she is not really the Chief Justice or a Justice, then we have nobody to impeach.”
Thus, it is no longer a question of if, but just a matter of when she will be removed from office.