Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno has fired the two psychiatrists of the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) who gave her a poor grade when she applied for the top judicial post.
A well-placed source at the Supreme Court told The Manila Times the JBC, which Sereno chairs, did not renew the contracts of the two psychiatrists when their tenure ended in December 2013.
The source did not name the psychiatrists, but said they had been with the JBC long before Sereno became chief justice.
The source said Sereno pushed the ouster of the psychiatrists because she flies into a rage every time the issue of psychiatric testing comes up during deliberations in the JBC.
“They were fired because the CJ [Chief Justice] has an ax to grind. They tested her and found her to have failed the psychiatric test,” the source said.
The JBC refused to renew the appointments of the two psychiatrists for no clear and justifiable reason, the source said.
The JBC cannot use cost-cutting to justify the sacking the two doctors since they were replaced by a psychometrician, the source said.
In the original JBC appointments of mental examiners, there are two psychiatrists and two psychologists.
A psychiatrist specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders. A psychometrician is defined as a person skilled in the administration and interpretation of objective psychological tests. A psychologist devises, constructs and standardizes psychometric tests.
The Manila Times tried to reach Sereno several times for reaction, but Theodore Te, chief of the Public Information Office, did not respond to the text messages sent to him.
In an exclusive story broke by the Times on August 24, 2012, the very day that Sereno was appointed by President Benigno Aquino 3rd as chief justice, it was discovered that she got a “grade of 4” in the tests given by the two psychiatrists and two psychologists of the JBC.
A grade of 5 is the lowest. A former JBC member said a person who gets such a grade is deemed psychotic.
The psychiatric report said Sereno had an IQ of 109. But she got a grade of four with diagnostic findings reflected in it.
Sereno was interviewed on July 18, 2012 but despite the low mark, she got six votes from the JBC, qualifying her for the shortlist of candidates for chief justice.
It was the first time Sereno went through psychiatric testing, since she was not screened when she applied as Associate Justice in 2010.
Under an existing JBC policy, an applicant to any position in the judiciary with a grade of four is unfit for the job.
Sereno’s psychiatric report described her as “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,” the report added.
In the tally sheet of the JBC, two noted jurists—Supreme Court Justice Diosdado Peralta and retired SC Justice Regino Hermosisima—did not vote for Sereno.
Those who voted for her were Undersecretary Michael Musngi, representing the Executive Department, Sen. Francis Escudero and Iloilo Rep. Niel Tupas Jr.—who represent Congress, lawyer Jose Mejia, representing the academe, lawyer Milagros Fernan-Cayosa, representing the IBP and retired Court of Appeals Justice Aurora Santiago-Lagman, representing the private sector.
Sereno was the first appointee of Aquino to the High Court. A former Executive Director of the Asian Institute of Management, she is at age 50 the youngest to be named chief magistrate.