Philippine Supreme Court upholds expulsion of chief justice

Philippine Supreme Court upholds expulsion of chief justice

MANILA, Philippines: The Philippine Supreme Court has upheld the expulsion of its chief justice, the authoritarian president’s highest-ranking critic, in a final ruling that critics warned is unconstitutional and threatens judicial independence and the country’s fragile democracy.

Court spokesman Theodore Te said justices voted 8-6 Tuesday to uphold their May 11 decision to oust Maria Lourdes Sereno from the 15-member high court and deny her appeal. The government’s solicitor-general had asked the court to boot her out for allegedly failing to file some of her past assets disclosures, a charge she denies.

Sereno’s expulsion cut short a separate congressional impeachment attempt against her. The former law professor argues that the government petition to oust her violates the constitution, which stipulates that justices like her can be removed only by congressional impeachment.

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