THE two psychiatrists of the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) whose report on Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno revealed that she failed her psychological test have been identified.
Dr. Dulce Lizza Sahagun-Reyes and Dr. Genuina C. Ranoy were hired by the JBC to conduct the test on Sereno after President Benigno Aquino 3rd appointed her chief justice in 2012.
Based on the results of the 11-page confidential psychiatric report by Reyes and Ranoy, Sereno got a rating of “4” from a scale of 1 to 5, with “5” being the lowest.
Sereno’s grade meant that while she projected a “happy mood,” she also exhibited “depressive markers.”
After the test results were revealed, Sereno who was chairman of the JBC, refused to renew the contracts of the two psychiatrists and terminated them in 2013, according to a well-placed source of The Manila Times in the Supreme Court (SC).
In the report, Reyes was described as a fellow of the Philippine Psychiatric Association and diplomate of the Philippine Board of Psychiatry. She is also described as JBC consultant Psychiatrist.
Ranoy was also described as a fellow of the Philippine Psychiatric Association and JBC consultant psychiatrist.
The documents were prepared by Maria Suerte Caguingin and Bernaden de Leon-Jamon and noted by lawyer Richard Pascual, acting chief of office, Office of Recruitment, Selection and Nomination of the JBC.
The two psychiatrists have been in the JBC as regular psychiatrists long before Sereno became associate justice of the high court, according to the same well-placed source.
But the source said Sereno pushed for the ouster of the psychiatrists as the chief justice became angry every time the issue of psychiatric testing was raised in the JBC deliberations.
Sereno has refused to respond to questions on the results of her psychiatric tests, with lawyer Theodore Te, spokesman for the High Court, defending her by saying that the results were “relative” in nature.
With her chief justice position on the line as the House of Representatives holds impeachment proceedings against her, Sereno said on national television that she did not have a copy of her psychiatric test results and those who were able to get one did so illegally and could be held liable for breach of confidentiality.
But then Supreme Court Justice Arturo Brion was given a personal copy of Sereno’s psychiatric test results upon his request from the JBC.
The Supreme Court en banc is expected to decide whether or not the results of Sereno’s psychiatric test results should be released or not as lawyer Larry Gadon, who filed the impeachment complaint against Sereno, had requested for copies.
Findings of fired psychiatrists
In the exclusive story of The Manila Times, which was published on August 24, 2012, the same day that Sereno was appointed Chief Justice, it was revealed that she got a “grade of 4” in the test administered by Reyes and Ranoy and the two psychologists of the JBC.
From a scale of 1 to 5, “5” is the lowest and has even been described by a former JBC member as “psychotic.”
On page 10 of the 11-page psychiatric report, it was reflected that Sereno had an IQ of “109,” which has been described as “average.”
Sereno was interviewed on July 18, 2012, but despite her Grade “4” mark, the JBC still voted for her and she was able to notch six votes from the council and make it to the shortlist.
The JBC source said that under the existing policy of the council, an applicant to any position in the judiciary who garnered a grade of “4” shall be considered “Not Recommended.”
“Dramatic and emotional, she appears energetic and all smiles and agreeable, but with religious preoccupation in almost all significant aspects of her life. She projects a happy mood but has depressive markers too. There is a strong tendency to make decisions based on current mood thus, outcome is highly subjective and self-righteous,” according to an assessment of the test.
In the tally sheet of the JBC in 2012 when candidates for the position of chief justice were screened, Associate Justice Diosdado Peralta and retired Supreme Court Justice Regino Hermosisima did not vote for Sereno.
Those who voted for Sereno despite the grade of 4 in the psychiatric test were Undersecretary Michael Musngi for the Executive Department; Sen. Francis Escudero and Iloilo Rep. Niel Tupas Jr. for Congress; lawyer Jose Mejia for the academe; lawyer Milagros Fernan-Cayosa for the Integrated Bar of the Philippines; and retired Court of Appeals Justice Aurora Santiago-Lagman for the private sector.
In the same psychiatric test, Associate Justice Teresita Leonardo-de Castro, the fourth most senior magistrate of the high court, was the only nominee who notched a grade of 1.
The second highest passer was Associate Justice Antonio Carpio who got a grade of 2 in his psychiatric testing. The other nominees who were shortlisted by the JBC who got a grade of 3 then were Associate Justices Arturo Brion, Roberto Abad; former Executive Secretary Ronaldo Zamora; and Ateneo College of Law Dean Cesar Villanueva.
Among the prominent names who passed the psychiatric tests were then Justice Secretary Leila de Lima who notched a grade of 3 and then Associate Justice Presbitero Velasco who got a grade of 2.
In the first page of the psychiatric report “For 19 July 2012 Preliminary Meeting” of the JBC, it states the 5-point numerical rating system is as follows:
“1 – Defenses are predominantly adaptive and healthy. Clinically assessed as having a superior functioning in a wide range of activities. Life’s problems never seem to get out of hand, is sought by others because of many positive qualities.
2 – Negative defenses are leveled out by the positive qualities, person has expectable reactions to psycho-social stressors. There may be temporary difficulty but is generally functioning well.
3 – Negative defenses may predominate but still able to achieve acceptable level of functions in an unusually difficult circumstance, functioning may be compromised.
4 – The negative defenses are predominantly present that may reflect in a clinical observation as difficulty in adaptive functions in several areas of the person’s life.
5 – Presence of major impairments in many or almost all areas of function. Presence of a diagnosable psychiatric disorder.”