Sereno not losing sleep over battles: ‘I didn’t lie, cheat’
“I did not lie and I did not cheat.”
This was what Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno had to say during her first public appearance on Wednesday since the House committee on justice found sufficient grounds to impeach her.
Speaking at a gathering of the Philippine Trial Judges League in Palo, Leyte, Sereno said she could sleep soundly at night and noted that narratives “built on lies” would eventually crumble.
“Alam kong hindi ako nagsinungaling, hindi ako nandaya, hindi ako nanlamang ng kapwa, at ginawa ko nang tama ang trabaho ko bilang Punong Mahistrado,” she said.
(I know I did not lie, I did not cheat or take advantage of others, and I did my work as Chief Justice the right way.)
“I have enough faith in the truth to sleep soundly at night; I have enough faith in our people, and in our democratic systems, to know that narratives built on lies will eventually crumble.”
The Chief Justice said she was not bothered by the impeachment proceedings because she knew the truth was on her side, and was not as embattled as she may have been shown in the media.
“To tell you the truth, I do not feel as embattled as the news stories may portray me to be,” she said.
“As one of my younger staff remarked, ‘Ang chill ni CJ, bagay ang pangalan (CJ is relaxed, her name fits her) — Sereno, as in serene… Kalmado (calm),” she added.
Sereno also urged trial court judges not to be distracted by political noise intended to unseat her from her position and instead stay focused on their duties as dispensers of justice.
“I did not come here to, as some would advise, rally the troops and ask you to wear armbands or hold placards for me,” Sereno said.
“I know that, ultimately, such political maneuverings can only erode our branch of government in the long-term, however gratifying it may be at the moment. I have no interest in feeding my ego,” she added.
“Remain steadfast in the conduct of your duties; zone out of politics, and decide on your cases with openness, sobriety, and fairness,” she said.
The Chief Justice also reminded the trial judges that the “greatest battle for our democratic system is not happening in the newspapers, or in other august halls in Manila” but “in your courtrooms.”
“Mamayang gabi, lulubog ang araw; bukas, sisikat ang araw, at may mga kaso pa rin tayong dapat trabahuhin, may mga reporma tayong dapat isulong,” Sereno said.
(As the sun continues to set and rise, there are still cases that we need to work on, reforms that we need to pursue.)
“All I ask is that tomorrow, you wake up and resolve to do the best, most honest, fairest work that you can do, and again the day after that, and again the day after that. There is nothing more than a Chief Justice can ask of you,” she added. /idl
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