SUPREME Court officials and employees including court organizations led by the Philippine Judges Association (PJA) yesterday joined calls for the immediate resignation of Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno.
Supreme Court officials and employees including court organizations led by the Philippine Judges Association (PJA) yesterday joined calls for the immediate resignation of Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno.
“The dispute is now here in our own house,” PJA spresident Judge Felix Reyes told reporters after the flag-raising ceremony at the SC compound.
“The Chief Justice has been very kind to our organization. But we decided to join the calls (for her to resign) after looking at the big picture and what’s best for all of us,” he said.
Reyes, however, declined to explain how their politically charged decision to force Sereno to quit could help shield the judiciary from political intervention.
“I’m not in a position to answer that,” he briefly said.
Also, around 300 court workers listened as Erwin Oscon, president of the Supreme Court Employees Association (SCEA), read a manifesto during the “Red Monday” event.
The manifesto was signed by the leaders of PJA, SCEA, the Supreme Court Assembly of Lawyer Employees, the Philippine Association of Court Employees and the Sandiganbayan Employees’ Association.
Nine of Sereno’s colleagues, five of whom wore red neckties, attended the gathering along with several officers of the 1,200-strong PJA.
Also present was Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, who had assumed as acting chief magistrate since Sereno was forced by 13 justices to take an indefinite break starting March 1 to let her prepare for her looming impeachment trial in the Senate.
Oscon denied insinuations that they were forced by some senior court officials to release the statement, saying the Chief Justice had already lost the support of the judiciary’s employees when she failed to address their concerns.
“First of all, we deny the reports in the media that we were pressured and ordered to conduct these actions against the Chief Justice,” Oscon said.
“This is an initiative of the different associations (of court personnel). As early as September 2017, the employees have withdrawn their support (for the Chief Justice). What does that mean?” he said.
In their joint statement, the groups said the moves to impeach Sereno had only placed the “entire judiciary in disrepute, thereby affecting the honor and integrity” of the magistrates and judges.
They said court officials “have been pitted against each other resulting in a distressing atmosphere” and that the court “can no longer endure a prolonged environment of this kind.”
“Chief, it’s time to let go. Please let the judiciary move on,” Oscon read from the statement.
“Chief Justice, let us please not allow history to judge you as the first woman chief justice, and the youngest at that, to be removed from office,” the statement added.