Unseated chief justices: Sereno, foreign counterparts have a common denominator

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Ousted Philippine Supreme Court Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno speaks to supporters at a rally outside the Supreme Court building on Taft Avenue, Manila, Philippines May 11, 2018.

The Philippines has the distinction of unseating two consecutive chief justices, just six years apart. Here’s look at some notable magistrate ousters from countries reveals how precarious having a seat on the highest tribunal of the land actually is.

One chief justice after another removed
In May 2018, Maria Lourdes Sereno, the second-youngest chief justice appointee in the history of the Philippine judiciary, was removed by her colleagues on an 8-6 vote granting a quo warranto proceeding looking into her appointment.

Sereno’s removal came just six years after the justice she replaced, the late Renato Corona, was impeached by 20 members of the Senate who found him guilty of a culpable violation of the 1987 Constitution for failing to disclose to the public his statement of assets, liabilities, and net worth as required under Section. 17, Article XI of the said constitution.

An insecure chief justice seat
While the controversial unseating of the two chief magistrates has put the spotlight on the Philippine judiciary, other countries in the Asian region have also seen their political landscape rocked by the severing of their top court’s head.

Shirani Bandaranayake, the 43rd chief justice of Sri Lanka and the first woman to the post, was removed by vote of the Sri Lankan parliament, following allegations of corruption and unexplained wealth.

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