Resignation ‘never an option’ for Chief Justice Sereno

Lian Buan
Resignation ‘never an option’ for Chief Justice Sereno
(UPDATED) 'She has done nothing to damage the institution,' says Sereno's spokesperson Carlo Cruz

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno has no plans of resigning. 

Calls on Monday, November 6, by Malacañang’s newest spokesperson Harry Roque for her to step down supposedly to spare the High Court “from any further damage” will not change her resolve.

“As previously declared, resignation has never been an option,” Sereno’s spokesperson, lawyer Carlo Cruz said also on Monday.

The impeachment complaint against Sereno has been deemed by the House Committee on Justice as sufficient in grounds.

“She has done nothing to ‘damage’ the institution, and she has been doing everything to strengthen it,” Cruz said.

Another one of Sereno’s spokespersons, lawyer Jose Deinla, said that the call for resignation only means the impeachment complaint against the Chief Justice is weak.

Alam naman ng publiko na ang alegasyon laban kay CJ Sereno ay malisyoso at walang matibay na basehan. Higit sa lahat, ang mga sinasabing mga paratang ay hindi impeachable offenses batay sa isinasaad ng ating Konstitusyon,” Deinla said.

(The public knows that the accusations against CJ Sereno are malicious and have no strong basis. Most of all, the accusations are not impeachable offenses as stated in the Constitution.)

Deinla said that Roque should be careful not to show his biases as the President’s spokesperson. Roque was one of the lawmakers who endorsed the complaint.

“We would like to remind Atty Roque that he is now already speaking for the President and no longer just for himself. Didn’t the President say earlier that it will be ‘hands off’ and have nothing to do with the impeachment?” Deinla said.

Complainant Larry Gadon sees it another way.

“It comes no longer as a surprise that the impeachment is being supported by President Duterte as what Spokesperson Roque said. The President himself,  in a few public appearances, had disclosed his own desire to file an impeachment case against CJ Sereno,” Gadon said.

Among the accusations against Sereno is the non-declaration of some of her earnings in her Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth, which Cruz said, is a non-issue.

She is also accused of taking unilateral actions which weren’t sanctioned by the court en banc. (READ: How Sereno answered her impeachment complaint)

“The Chief Justice needs to face the impeachment proceeding precisely to preserve the dignity and independence of both the Supreme Court and the Office of the Chief Justice,” Cruz said.

Sereno said in a previous speech that the “narrative of lies” against her will “eventually crumble.” She has also asked the House committee to let her lawyers cross-examine the complainant Larry Gadon, or his witnesses.

In a speech Monday morning at the International Organization for Judicial Training (IOJT), Sereno alluded to assault on the independence of the judiciary. (READ: CJ Sereno asks lawmakers to choose democracy over partisan interest)

“It is my hope that we remember that the future of the human race, how well it survives and develops, is in large part, in the hands of the Judiciary,” Sereno said. – Rappler.com

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Lian Buan

Lian Buan covers justice and corruption for Rappler. She is interested in decisions, pleadings, audits, contracts, and other documents that establish a trail. If you have leads, email lian.buan@rappler.com or tweet @lianbuan.