Published: Wednesday 28 February, 2018

SC Justices Force Sereno to Take Indefinite Leave or Resign Amid Impeachment

For the first time in the history of the Supreme Court, a Chief Justice was forced by other justices to take a leave. Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno will take an indefinite leave starting March 1 though her camp says it is just a ‘wellness leave’ because of the stress of the impeachment hearings.

Sereno indefinite leave

10 SC justices forced Sereno to take an indefinite leave. (Philstar image)

A source from inside the Supreme Court said Sereno was made to choose between an indefinite leave or a forced resignation. This happened during Tuesday’s en banc session when 10 out of the 15 SC justices asked the Chief Justice to take a leave to spare the Supreme Court of the controversy amid the ongoing impeachment proceedings against Sereno.

But, according to the source, Sereno rejected her colleagues’ demand. It was then that the SC justices threw the gauntlet on the Chief Justice telling her that if she did not take a leave, they would go public and ask for her resignation.

Sereno then asked to consult the two most senior members of the Supreme Court – Associate Justices Antonio Caprio and Presbitero Velasco. After the closed door meeting, Sereno announced to the group that she would be taking an indefinite leave of absence effective March 1, 2018.

But, in an ambush interview, the Chief Justice’s spokesman denied it was an indefinite leave. According to Atty. Jojo Lacanilao,¬†Sereno will be taking a “wellness leave” to prepare herself for her impending impeachment trial at the Senate.

“Meron siyang scheduled na wellness leave sa March. Talagang na-schedule na yun, matagal na. Ina-advance niya lang, February na rin ngayon, para makapag-prepare na rin siya sa Senate trial,” said Lacanilao.