Sereno to go on wellness leave beginning March 1

Chief Justice Lourdes Sereno (ctto)

Is this a sign that the embattled Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Maria Lourdes Sereno is just strategizing or is she feeling the heat.

Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno is currently facing impeachment proceedings before the House of Representatives committee on justice. The Chief Justice has been on the defensive end since a complaint for her impeachment has been endorsed by twenty five members of the House.

Serreno is accused of culpable violation of the Constitution, corruption, other high crimes and betrayal of public trust. 

According to her lawyer spokesperson Josa Deinla, the Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Serreno would go on leave of absence beginning March 1.

The reason given by Attorney Deinla was that the Chief Justice would be on a wellness leave to prepare her defense on the ongoing impeachment case filed by lawyer Larry Gadon.

“She’s filing a wellness leave, effective March 1 to 15 during which she intends to prepare her defense. That leave was originally scheduled on March 15 to 23,” Deinla said in text message sent to the Philippine News Agency- a government media outfit.

Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio will be the acting Chief Justice once Sereno's leave of absence begins on Thursday.

Oriental Mindoro Representative and House justice committee chair Reynaldo Umali welcomes the top magistrate’s move.

“This is welcome news to the Filipino people. This will give her time to reflect on what would be best for the judiciary which she heads,” Representative Umali said.

In the complaint file by atty. Gadon he alleges that Sereno did not declare in her Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN) the “exorbitant lawyer’s fees” of USD745,000 or PHP37 million which she received from the Philippine government.

Atty. Gadon is very confident that the issue as regards the Chief Justice SALN non-declaration is the strongest case he for the eventual impeachment of the Chief Justice.  

The other issues in the filed complaint alleges that Sereno committed corruption when she, among other things, used public funds to: finance her extravagant and lavish lifestyle by ordering the purchase of a brand-new luxurious Toyota Land Cruiser 2017 model as her personal vehicle, amounting to more than PHP5 million; and stay in opulent hotels when attending conferences in the country and abroad.

Source: PNA

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