MANILA, Philippines — Batangas Representative Vilma Santos-Recto said finding herself in between feuding lady justices was a “very tense” moment.
Santos-Recto was one of the guest speakers at the March 8 event in Manila of the Philippine Women Judges Association, along with Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno and Associate Justice Teresita Leonardo de Castro.
De Castro was one of the justices who testified at the House justice committee hearings on the impeachment complaint against Sereno.
“Unang una, pagdating ko, tense na ako kasi imagine, puro ‘your honors’ iyong kaharap ko (First of all, when I arrived, I was already tense because imagine, I was up against ‘your honors’),” Santos-Recto, an award-winning actress dubbed the Star for All Seasons, said.
“Naramdaman ko ang bigat ng loob after ng mensahe ni Chief Justice (I felt a heaviness after the Chief Justice’s message),” she said in an interview over radio dzBB, referring to Sereno’s message, which openly criticized the “unfair” impeachment proceedings
Following Sereno’s speech, De Castro walked up to the podium and chided her for speaking on a matter she said was “sub judice.”
“Noong tumayo si Justice De Castro and then binigay niya iyong message niya (When Justice De Castro stood up and then gave her message) that it was not the right time and the right place, I was just listening, sabi ko nga (I said), ‘Oh My God’!” Santos-Recto said.
When it was her turn to speak, Santos-Recto said she tried to lighten the atmosphere by saying: “Ang bigat–bigat ng loob ko … Puwede ho ba magkwentuhan na lang tayo (My feeling is so heavy … Can we just chat with each other)?”
She also told the audience that it would be better if “we all think fabulous,” the theme of the celebration.
When she was saying her goodbyes to Sereno, she said she told the chief magistrate, “I know you are going through tough challenges, I will pray for you.”
The lawmaker said she has not made up her mind on whether to vote for Sereno’s impeachment.
She said she will carefully read and study the committee report after the committee votes on it next week.