ON August 24, Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Aranal-Sereno celebrated the second year of her ascension to the highest judicial post in the land.
She has been the “primus inter pares” (first among equals) for two years now, however, there are “ghosts” from her past that keep on haunting her up to the present.
The bad part of it is that these ghosts could play a major part in the event that impeachment proceedings are initiated against her.
While she has been trying very hard to shake these ghosts off her back, some of them cling on to her like a bad dream in an endless nightmare.
Among these ghosts is her flunked psychiatric test result that was exposed on August 24, 2012, the very day she was appointed as Chief Justice.
She obtained a rating of 4, which is tantalizingly close to a rating of 5 as the lowest for an unacceptable category of being labeled as psychotic.
Sereno tried to suppress the release of the results. But she can do nothing when the Senior Justices asked for the disclosure of the mental testing of Justice Arturo Brion.
On page 10 of the psychiatric report, it showed that Sereno had an IQ of “(109) Average.” But she got a low grade of four with diagnostic findings reflected on it.
“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.
Another of her ghost is the resolution that she reportedly falsified when she acted on her own in creating the Regional Court Administration Office in Cebu despite a lack of authority from the SC en banc.
Also, when she issued the temporary restraining order (TRO) on the Senior Citizen’s party list case that changed the content of the recommendation of ponente—Justice Teresita Leonardo-de Castro.
Her non-declaration in her Statements of Assets Liabilities and Networth (SALN) of the fees for her services as a lawyer of the PIATCO-NAIA Terminal 3 case; which raises the question of whether or not she committed tax evasion because of her refusal to declare her attorney’s fees in the PIATCO case.
The latest ghost of the chief justice is her manipulation and prevention, while sitting as chairperson of the Judicial and Bar Council, of the nomination of then Solicitor General Francis Jardeleza for the position of Associate Justice of the SC.
Based on the statement of facts, Sereno delayed the raffle of the case of the letter-petition of Jardeleza filed on June 25, before the SC in order to allow the JBC to come out of the shortlist of nominees on June 30 instead of waiting to allow the SC to have a ruling on July 1.