The Philippine Supreme Court voted on Friday to remove its top judge, whom President Rodrigo Duterte called an “enemy” for voting against controversial government proposals, citing violations in the way she was appointed.
One opposition party said the ouster of Maria Lourdes Sereno, the country’s first woman chief justice, removed a shield against abuse of power in government and left behind a “puppet Supreme Court”.
By a vote of 8-6, the court granted the government’s petition to cancel Sereno’s appointment on the grounds of alleged violations in the appointment process.
“Maria Lourdes Sereno is found disqualified from, and hereby adjudged guilty of unlawfully holding and exercising, the office of the chief justice,” said court spokesman Theodore Te, who read out the decision.
Sereno is the first chief justice to be removed by her peers and the second top judge to lose the position after her predecessor was impeached for non-disclosure of wealth.