Chief Justice will not resign despite calls for impeachment

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By Macon Araneta | FilAm Star Correspondent

Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno will not resign despite presidential spokesperson Harry Roque’s calls for her to step down.

“As previously declared, resignation has never been an option,” Sereno’s spokesperson, lawyer Carlo Cruz said also on November 6.

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

Lawyer Jose Deinla, also a spokesperson for Sereno, said that the call for resignation only means the impeachment complaint against the Chief Justice is weak..

He stressed that 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.

He also reminded Roque to 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 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.

A citizen movement had expressed their support for Sereno amid impeachment proceedings filed against her.

“The cast and characters behind the impeachment complaint against Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno are out for vengeance and ambition,” said Pinoy Aksyon for Governance and Environment (Pinoy Aksyon) in a statement.

“Impeachment is an (extraordinary) remedy to strengthen our democratic institutions. It should not be used as a convenient tool to serve vested interests,” the group added.

Pinoy Aksyon called lawyer Lorenzo Gadon, who had filed the impeachment complaint against Sereno, a “witch hunter” who does not mind “burning in hell as long as he gets done what his political benefactors want.

But Gadon slammed Pinoy Aksyon as “a lapdog of the yellowtards.” He said the group “has no credibility.” Yellow is the color associated with the former ruling Liberal Party Pinoy Aksyon describes itself as an independent think tank with development workers at its members.

The group lamented how the House of Representatives have been “giving credence” to Gadon’s impeachment complaint.

The group also noted how Gadon, during a television interview last September, claimed that Associate Justice Teresita Leonardo-De Castro could be one of the three justices who would testify against Sereno.

“As much as Pinoy Aksyon wants to insulate the judiciary from further political inclusions, we take notice of these public information in hopes that the public may be enlightened on the issues,” said Alberto Vicente, convenor of the group.

“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.

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

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.

“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 Gadon or his witnesses.

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