Tuesday, March 13, 2018
[caption id="attachment_140014" align="aligncenter" width="960"] Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno gives a statement on the calls for her resignation in a news conference at Bahay Kalinaw in the University of the Philippines Diliman in Quezon City on Monday, March 12. PHOTO COURTESY OF GMA NEWS[/caption]
MANILA – Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno stood firm on her decision not to quit her position amid calls from a group of justices and high court employees for her to resign.
Sereno reiterated that she will fight the impeachment complaint filed by lawyer Lorenzo “Larry” Gadon.
“I will not resign,” she told a news conference at the University of the Philippines Diliman on Monday. “Kung magre-resign ako, ibig sabihin ’di ko pinaninindigan ang rule of law – na ang bawat akusahan may pagkakataon marinig at idepensa ang sarili.”
Resignation is the “easier option” as it will “end unrelenting attacks” against her, the chief justice herself acknowledged.
“But I do not make choices in life on the basis of what is the easier option but what is the right thing to do,” she stressed.
Among those who called for her resignation were members of the Regional Trial Court Judges Association, the Philippine Judges Association and the Supreme Court Employees Association.
“It is sad for institution that some judges and employees whose independence I have fought to defend have succumbed to pressure to join political fray,” the chief justice said.
“But also a source of hope that many judges have refused to be used as pawns and instead maintained the independence of judiciary,” she added. “It is for love of the judiciary that I must stay my course.”
The House of Representatives justice committee was set to craft the Articles of Impeachment and vote on the final committee report on March 14. These will then be presented before the House plenary for voting in May.
An affirmative vote from one-third of all members would enable the House to transmit the Articles of Impeachment to the Senate, which would then turn into an impeachment court.
RAPS VS SC STAFFERS
Meanwhile Gadon filed graft charges against five Supreme Court officials over an allegedly irregular procurement.
The lawyer had warned that he will file graft charges against some of the chief justice’s staffer if she does not resign by March 1.
Charged before the Department of Justice were members of the high court’s Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) and a technical working group (TWG).
Gadon claimed the BAC’s Ma. Lourdes Oliveros, Michael Ocampo and Helen Perez-Macasaet were involved in the procurement of IT services without public bidding.
“Binayaran ng napakalaking halaga si Helen Perez-Macasaet na hindi dumaan sa bidding. Ito ay ni-renew pa six times na hindi rin dumaan sa bidding,” Gadon said without disclosing the amount.
On the other hand TWG’s Anna-Li Papa-Gombio and Jocelyn Fabian were charged over the delay on the approval and release of survivorship benefits. From the usual two weeks, the processing took two years, Gadon claimed.
“Inabot ng dalawang taon bago nila ginawan ng study. Dati noong hindi pa sila involved dito at ito ay nasa Court of Administrator pa lang ay umaabot lamang ng dalawang linggo at aprubado na,” said Gadon./PN