Sereno: I’m not losing sleep over impeachment
Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno said she was not losing sleep over her possible impeachment because she had done nothing wrong and she would not rally support from the judiciary in battling moves to oust her.
Speaking in public for the first time since the justice committee of the House of Representatives found “sufficient grounds” in the impeachment complaint filed by lawyer Larry Gadon last week, Sereno told a group of judges on Wednesday to keep away from politics.
‘Enough faith in truth’
“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,” Sereno said in her speech at the annual convention of the Trial Judges League in Palo, Leyte.
“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,” she said.
President Duterte said he would file a separate impeachment complaint against Sereno for corruption, citing her alleged undeclared professional fees which she had received from the government in the Piatco case, which was also one of the grounds cited by Gadon.
Direct threat to democracy
Mr. Duterte’s statement was seen as a direct threat to a co-equal branch of government that could undermine checks and balances in a democracy.
The Chief Justice told the 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.”
“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.
“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.
After finding “sufficient grounds” in Gadon’s impeachment complaint, the House justice committee would next decide whether there was “probable cause” to recommend Sereno’s impeachment to the plenary.
Gadon’s charges against Sereno included her alleged failure to declare her real wealth in her statement of assets, liabilities and net worth, including P37 million in lawyer’s fees, and buying a P5-million Toyota Land Cruiser for her personal using government funds.
He also alleged that Sereno made questionable decisions without consulting her fellow magistrates and manipulated judicial appointments.
Sereno told judges not to be distracted by political issues.
“Remain steadfast in the conduct of your duties; zone out of politics, and decide on your cases with openness, sobriety and fairness,” she told the trial judges.
“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 that a Chief Justice can ask of you,” she said.
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