• UPDATE: SC justices force Sereno to take indefinite leave but spokesman says it’s ‘wellness leave’


    THE Supreme Court en banc forced Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno to take an indefinite leave of absence starting on Thursday after she was confronted by the Justices of the high court, according to Manila Times sources privy to the meeting.

    Some of the justices even asked for Sereno’s resignation because of loss of confidence, sources said.

    The same sources said Sereno talked to the two most senior justices of the high court — Antonio Carpio and Presbitero Velasco Jr.

    In a separate statement, Jojo Lacanilao, Sereno spokesperson, said the Chief Justice decided to take a 15-day wellness leave starting on March 1.

    “She has been long scheduled to take a wellness leave in March [12 to 23], but she made a decision to have it a few weeks earlier, starting March [1 to 15], so that she can prepare for her possible impeachment trial in the Senate,” Lacanilao told reporters in a chance interview at the House of Representatives during Tuesday’s resumption of the impeachment hearing against Sereno.

    Lacanilao’s announcement came on the day that two psychiatrists — Dulce Sahagun of Medical City in Ortigas and Genuina Ranoy — were set to testify on the results of a psychosocial evaluation on Sereno when she was applying for the Chief Justice post in 2012.

    Rep. Reynaldo Umali of Oriental Mindoro, chairman of the House justice committee conducting the hearing, welcomed the news.

    “This will give her time to reflect on what would be best for the judiciary which she heads,” Umali said in a separate statement.

    The Manila Times published the story that High Court justices would confront Sereno in its en banc session today, Tuesday, and ask for her resignation.

    She is accused of betrayal of public trust and culpable violation of the Constitution, among others. JOMAR CANLAS, LLANESCA T. PANTI





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