MANILA – At the Monday morning flag raising, some 300 court employees wore red shirts and a representative of the SC Employees Association read aloud a statement urging Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno to resign because the “court can no longer endure a prolonged environment of this kind,” where court officials are pitted against each other.
“We are calling for the benefit of the entire Filipino community, to step down to your post as Chief Justice),” said the joint statement read by SCEA President Erwin Ocson.
Sereno, however, soundly rejected the calls for her to step down ahead of the prospective impeachment trial in the Senate, saying doing so would encourage “extraconstitutional adventurism” and seriously compromise judicial independence that she vigorously fought for since her appointment as head magistrate in 2012.
“Resigning from my post as Chief Justice will only serve to erode the independence of the Supreme Court and embolden those who demand a subservient judiciary,” Sereno said in a speech in front of cheering supporters at the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City.
She maintained she would not bow to pressure and step down as demanded by her accusers and critics: “The oath I have taken is to protect the Constitution, the independence of the judiciary and to take a stand for every judge whose freedom of conscience I have consistently done my best to defend,” Sereno stressed. “All kinds of lies, threats, harassment and bullying have been thrown my way. But I will not yield.”
“The call for my resignation seems to blame me for the mess the judiciary finds itself in, describing judges, justices and employees pitted against each other in congressional hearings. But I was not the one who started all this trouble. As I said last week, they started this, why don’t they finish it?” (With a report from Philippine News Agency)