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Sereno confirms indefinite leave

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Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes P. A. Sereno speaks during an interview with BusinessWorld in this photo taken on February 16, 2018.

CHIEF JUSTICE Maria Lourdes P.A. Sereno in a letter on Tuesday said she will take an indefinite leave, as her own camp confirmed in a news conference on Wednesday.

Ms. Sereno’s letter to Deputy Clerk of Court Anna-Li Papa Gombio, as presented on Wednesday by her spokespersons, read, “On the matter of my leave, please take note that due to the demands of the Senate trial where I intend to fully set out my defenses to the baseless charges, I will take an indefinite leave, until I shall have completed my preparation for the Senate trial, a portion of which will be charged against my wellness leave under A.M. 07-11-02-SC (Re: Wellness Program of all Justices for 2018), originally from March 12 to 23, 2018, to March 1 to 15, 2018.”

[VIDEO: Chief Justice Sereno on the future of the Philippine justice system]

On Tuesday, lawyer Jojo A. Lacanilao, one of Ms. Sereno’s spokespersons, told the House committee on justice hearing the impeachment complaint against the Chief Justice that she has a “scheduled…wellness leave (in) March.”

Another spokesperson of Ms. Sereno, lawyer Josalee S. Deinla, also said on Tuesday that the Chief Justice “intends to resume her post after her leave. She (has) no plans of resigning.”

Mr. Lacanilao on Wednesday said Ms. Sereno’s indefinite leave is “in the sense that she does not know the specific end point or date when she will return to office.”

“(Ms. Sereno) remains…the Chief Justice of the Philippines,” he also said, adding, “The position is not vacant.”

On Tuesday night’s executive session by the committee, psychiatrist Geraldine Tria cited the following symptoms of grandiosity, sense of unlimited power, sense of entitlement, exploitative, and lack of empathy in Ms. Sereno’s psychological exam, the agenda of that session.

The Sereno camp had earlier issued a statement saying in part that the House of Representatives had no business scrutinizing the result of her psychological exam because it does not constitute grounds for impeachment under the Constitution.

Following the executive session, committee chairman Representative Reynaldo V. Umali of Oriental Mindoro said the findings “confirm somehow the actuations of the Chief Justice in as many charges as there were incorporated in the impeachment complaint.”

In another news conference also on Wednesday, House Speaker Pantaleon D. Alvarez said the Office of the Solicitor-General can start looking into the possibility of questioning before the Supreme Court the validity of Ms. Sereno’s appointment based on her psychiatric test. — Dane Angelo M. Enerio, Minde Nyl R. dela Cruz with a report by interaksyon.com


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