MANILA, Philippines – Is this now a case of getting a dose of her own medicine?
Barely 4 months after assuming the post, Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno is now being questioned no less than by one of her colleagues in the High Tribunal.
In a memorandum on December 3, Supreme Court Justice Teresita Leonardo De Castro called for the recall or amendment of a Court resolution that ratified Sereno’s earlier decision to restore the regional court administrator’s office (RCAO).
De Castro said the resolution does not contain the deliberations made by the other justices on the matter. De Castro said the Court opposed the restoration of RCAO, which was launched in 2008 to decentralize court operations.
Despite this, Sereno issued an administrative order creating it under a new name — the Judiciary Decentralized Office (JDO). The JDO was tasked to supervise lower courts in Region VII.
But De Castro said Sereno does not have the authority to create the JDO because this was not approved by the Tribunal. The senior lady justice said the Court should first conduct a study on why RCAO did not work in the past.
She added that Sereno’s administrative order “cannot deprive the Court en banc of its constitutional duty to exercise administrative supervision over all courts” and of the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) (headed by Jose Midas Marquez) of its duty to assist the Court en banc in the exercise of said power.
The senior lady justice said Sereno’s administrative order “transgressed the constitutional authority of the Court en banc and the statutory authority of OCA.”
When she was still a justice, Sereno was just as vocal and frank. She also issued statements critical of management decisions made by then Chief Justice Renato Corona. Sereno even once publicly criticized Marquez for misinterpreting a Court verdict.
De Castro was one of the senior justices bypassed by Sereno when the latter was named chief justice.
The Court will tackle Sereno’s contentious November 27 resolution on December 11.
But Sereno took a sick leave starting December 4, She has designated Justice Antonio Carpio as acting chief justice. – Rappler.com
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