PHILIPPINE Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno on Thursday, August 24, shrugged off threats to remove her from the office, saying that the impeachment case build up against her does not affect her at all.
Breaking her silence on the issue, the chief justice expressed confidence that efforts to oust her will not prosper.
“Nothing can be proven against me that will show that the chief justice has betrayed her oath of office. I have served the country with all faith and diligence. I will never waver from that pledge,” Sereno said during a town hall meeting in Cebu City.
Maintaining a “clear conscience,” the chief justice remarked that she is not unfazed by the ouster threats because she has not done anything illegal while at the helm of the country’s judiciary.
“Ang masarap sa malinis na konsensya, it does not affect me at all (That’s what’s good about a clean conscience, it does not affect me at all),” she added.
Earlier this month, an anti-crime group filed an impeachment complaint against Sereno before the House of Representatives. No House member, however, has endorsed the complaint since it was filed.
In the complaint filed on August 2, the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) and the Vanguard of the Philippine Constitution accused the chief justice of culpable violation of the Constitution, treason, robbery, graft and corruption, high crimes and betrayal of public trust.
Among the grounds for impeachment petitioners cited in their complaint includes Sereno’s appointment to Solomon Lumba as her staff head while he was holding another government post; and when she sat on applications for posts at the court.
They also cited that Sereno appointed Brenda Jay Mendoza to head the Philippine Mediation Center; granted foreign travel allowances to her staff using the Supreme Court’s (SC); and ordered the creation and reopening of new judicial offices in Western Visayas — which were all supposedly done without the Court’s approval.
But the chief justice asserted that public documents would attest her innocence from the allegations hurled against her.
“I have been prudent in use of the court’s resources at the expenses for judicial reform. My travels, my security requirements are all regular and above board. Public documents and records will speak for itself and I have not objected in the public release of the same,” Sereno said.
Asked if she thinks that Malacañang has a hand in the impeachment complaint, the chief justice refused to comment.
Describing her relationship with President Rodrigo Duterte as “professional,” Sereno went on to say, “The fact that he has mandate to lead, we must observe what the Constitution says. I am very professional with my dealings with all officials of government.”