A NUMBER of Supreme Court justices now want Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno to resign over her alleged violations of court rules, including her failure to submit all of her statements of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALNs) and for making an “illegal appointment.”
Court sources told The Manila Times the justices wanted to challenge Sereno and ask her to explain her actions during today’s en banc session.
Aside from her supposed non-filing and non-declaration of her earnings as lawyer for the government in an airport dispute case in her SALNs, the justices wanted to take up resolutions and appointments made without the concurrence of the en banc or the full court, a source said.
“There will be fireworks on Tuesday. Sereno will be confronted by the justices because the court is being dragged into the fray,” the source told The Times.
Another source said that some of the justices were inclined to ask for Sereno’s resignation to save the court from further humiliation.
Sereno is facing an impeachment complaint at the House of Representatives, where her colleagues, including Justices Teresita Leonardo de Castro and Francis Jardeleza, had taken turns to testify against her.
Leonen’s Twitter post
Even Associate Justice Marvic Leonen, a perceived ally of Sereno, appears to have turned his back on the chief justice.
On February 23, Leonen posted on his Twitter account: “A leader knows that there is a difference between authority and respect. The former is on a piece of paper with all the trappings of tradition and power. Authority is based on entitlement does not last forever. Respect is painstakingly earned.”
“A good leader not only has authority but has the respect of his/her constituents. They follow him/her not because he/she has authority but because she inspires them to be the best in what they do.”
“The great leader not only understands the value of earned respect, the wisdom of impermanence and the inevitability of sacrifice. That is, that there is the right time to let go, step down and allow others to lead.”
“It is the mark of a great leader who knows that there will be others greater than him or her,” Leonen pointed out.
A third court source said: “Who else is he (Leonen) talking about? No other than Sereno.”
Court sources told The Times Leonen himself wanted to revoke the appointment of Brenda Jay Angeles-Mendoza as chief of the Philippine Mediation Center Office of the Philippine Judicial Academy.
Mendoza’s appointment without the authority of the en banc is one of the grounds cited in the complaint for impeachment filed by lawyer Lorenzo Gadon.
Leonen is said to have drafted a ruling recommending the revocation and recall of Mendoza’s appointment to the post, which has the rank of associate justice of the Court of Appeals.
The Manila Times had reported the six-page internal memorandum of Justice de Castro to Sereno, dated August 25, 2017, wherein de Castro asked her fellow justices to stop the weakening of the court en banc.
“Finally it is about time that the Court en banc avert the continuing diminution of its constitutionally vested powers by now setting clear guidelines in the appointment of ranking officials and identifying those key positions which should be filled-up by the Court En Banc appointment,” de Castro stated in the memo.
De Castro asked the en banc to “revoke” and “recall” the appointment of Mendoza, so that the position “may be opened to generate more aspirants to the said position from among the ranks of our retired Judges and Justices who have extensive experience in mediating cases in the course of their previous judicial work…”
De Castro pointed out that Mendoza’s appointment did not come with a resolution of the board of trustees of the Philippine Judicial Academy, in disregard of Supreme Court administrative rules.