Sereno says she is going on 'indefinite leave'
Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno will go on "indefinite leave" starting March 1, she told a gathering of regional clerks of court on Wednesday.
“I want to give you the assurance that while I will be taking a leave of absence, the ship of state of the judiciary remains on course,” Sereno said in her keynote address at the 25th national convention of the Regional Trial Court Clerks of Court Association of the Philippines (RCAP) at the Manila Hotel.
Earlier in the day, Sereno formally filed her indefinite leave from the Supreme Court in a letter to Deputy Clerk of Court Atty. Anna-Li Papa Gombio where she cited as reason the “demands of the Senate where I intend to fully set out my defenses to the baseless charges.”
“I will take an indefinite leave, until I shall have completed my preparation for the Senate trial, a portion of which will be charged against my wellness leave... originally from March 12 to 23, 2018, to March 1 to 15, 2018,” she said.
Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio will be acting chief justice and acting head of the Presidential Electoral Tribunal.
Sereno told the clerks of court she will not resign after taking an indefinite leave from office.
“I need to prepare to fight the accusations against me fairly and squarely, with honor, dignity and grace,” she added.
The House of Representatives justice committee is hearing the impeachment case filed by lawyer Larry Gadon against Sereno. The plenary is expected to vote whether to send the articles of impeachment against Sereno to the Senate or dismiss it in around two weeks.
Sereno’s spokesperson Jojo Lacanilao said Sereno is looking forward to have the impeachment case brought to the Senate for trial where she will prove all allegations against her were baseless.
“We want to emphasize that Chief Justice Sereno has no intention to resign at all from her post as chief justice,” Lacanilao said. DMS