President or VP cannot be removed via quo warranto, says Palace

  • Malacañang said it does not agree with the SC ruling which states that the President and Vice President can be removed via quo warranto
  • Roque explained the quo warranto was used against Sereno because of her failure to comply with the constitutional requirement
  • However, he acknowledged there are other grounds on which a quo warranto may be used in questioning the eligibility of an impeachable official

MANILA, Philippines  –  The Malacañang Palace on Tuesday said it disagrees with the Supreme Court ruling on the quo warranto petition against Sereno that says the position of the President and the Vice President can likewise be subjected to the same process.

Responding to the questions by reporters, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said he does not believe in that specific part of the justices’ decision.

“Hindi po kami naniniwala diyan [We don’t believe in that part],” said Roque; adding that Sereno was only removed because of her failure to comply with the constitutional requirement which is filing of the statement of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN).

Roque also clarified that the outcome of the Sereno case does not mean the Solicitor General has now become too powerful since the quo warranto petition was filed against a specific government official who was required to file her SALNs by virtue of the Constitution and the law.

But Sereno failed to comply regarding this, which became the basis of the SolGen’s quo warranto petition, Roque said.

Question on the eligibility of officials

On the question whether the qualification of an official, or his/her eligibility to the position can now be questioned through quo warranto, as stated by the SC ruling, Roque pointed out that while “anyone who violates the constitutional provision stands the risk of being questioned by reason of quo warranto”, an official need not be threatened by this if he or she has not violated any.

 “At the end, it is really the Supreme Court asserting the supremacy of the Constitution,” said Roque.

However, Roque acknowledged that there are other grounds which a quo warranto may be used in questioning an impeachable official’s eligibility other than the filing of SALNs; citizenship, for instance.

In the decision by the majority of the SC justices, it said “impeachment is not an exclusive remedy by which an invalidly appointed or invalidly elected impeachable official may be removed from office.”

“To subscribe to the view that appointments or election of impeachable officers are outside judicial review is to cleanse their appointments or election of any possible defect pertaining to the constitutionally prescribed qualifications which cannot otherwise be raised in an impeachment proceeding,” the ruling stated.

The 1987 Constitution enumerated these “impeachable officers” as the president, the vice president, justices of the Supreme Court, members of the constitutional commissions, and the Ombudsman.