Impeachment raps don’t affect me—Sereno
“It does not affect me at all,” Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno said when asked about the two impeachment complaints lodged against her.
“Alam mo, ‘yan ang masarap sa malinis na konsensya (You know what, that is the goodness of having a clean conscience), it [impeachment] does not affect me at all,” Sereno said during the Ulat sa Hudikatura held in Cebu.
Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) and Vanguard of the Philippine Constitution accused the chief justice of culpably violating the Constitution when she issued an administrative order creating the new Judiciary Decentralized Office and reopening the Regional Court Administration Office in Western Visayas in the absence of an authority from the court en banc, appointing a member of the Philippine Mediation Center Office Chief by mere memorandum, which was not referred to the court en banc for its consideration, granting to members of her staff travel allowances for foreign travel charges to the Supreme Court funds without court en banc approval.
The group added that she betrayed public trust through inexcusable negligence for sitting on the applications for the posts of Supreme Court deputy clerk of court and chief attorney, which have been vacant for three years and eight months and the two positions for assistant court administrator, which have been vacant for four years and six months.
Atty. Larry Gadon, on the other hand, accused Sereno of living a lavish lifestyle when she purchased a Toyota Land Cruiser worth P5.1 million using public funds.
Gadon said Sereno wanted a luxury vehicle on top of her “coterie of security personnel riding in separate vehicles and traffic escorts two motorcycles,” which were also purchased “using Supreme Court funds.”
He added that Sereno also uses taxpayers’ money to stay in opulent hotels when attending conferences in the Philippines and abroad, and flying on business or first class together with her staff and security.
But Sereno maintained that she has been living a life of modesty.
“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.
She added that if she does not want to be bothered by the threats of impeachment because she does not want to lose her focus on the various judicial reforms that they have been taking to expedite judicial processes.
“If I take an inordinate amount of time looking at it and being exasperated by those documents, work will not be done so just give it the right attention so that you understand that when the appropriate time comes, you are ready.”
“I have done nothing wrong. 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 added. JPV
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