Philippine judges, court employees call on top justice to resign

Henrietta Strickland
March 13, 2018

Members of a powerful committee in the House of Representatives on Thursday ran roughshod over weak opposition and voted 28 to 2 with no abstentions to impeach embattled Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno for alleged culpable violation of the Constitution, betrayal of public trust and corruption.

She said that resigning will allow "the weight of the office of the Chief Justice to be immediately lifted off my shoulders, freeing me to pursue many things ordinary citizens do".

The top magistrate explained that she still hasn't started giving her side of the story and stepping down would only result in another victim.

Sereno became the first woman and youngest chief justice in 2012, when then President Benigno Aquino III appointed her to replace impeached Chief Justice Renato Corona.

The call for resignation was made by the Philippine Judges Association, the Philippine Association of Court Employees, the Supreme Court Employees Association, Supreme Court Assembly of Lawyer Employees, and the Sandiganbayan Employees Association. "And without the slightest doubt, the right thing to do is to fight this impeachment to the end", she stressed.

Aside from the impeachment, last week, Solicitor General Jose Calida filed a quo warranto, asking the Supreme Court to declare Sereno's appointment null and void, questioning her qualifications to be chief justice. "But I will not yield", Sereno, 57, said in a speech before women judges.

During impeachment hearings at the House of Representatives, it was found that the TWG was supposed to expedite the study of retirement and other civil benefits for the spouses of justices and judges who have died.

She said her situation is no different from other judges who face pressure from those in power, without directly referring to the president and his allies in the legislature.

JUDGES and personnel in the Cebu City Hall of Justice are not joining some of their colleagues at the Supreme Court who have called for the resignation of Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.

The complaint will now move to impeachment court in the Senate, although there is no exact date yet when the trial will begin.

"If they do this to me, the chief justice, they can do this to you all".

Davide said calling on Sereno to quit now would destroy people's faith in the judiciary.

Meanwhile, Senator PanfiloLacson said Sereno should be given the chance to defend herself in court just like any other person. It's as simple as that.

Lacson also said that he and other senators can not be influenced by anybody, including former Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, who has joined the House prosecution team as its adviser.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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