MANILA � Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno on Thursday broke her silence over the impeachment complaint filed against her by the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) and the Vanguard of the Philippine Constitution Inc. (VPCI) before the House of Representatives, stating that she has not done anything wrong.
I have done nothing wrong. Nothing can be proven against me. I have served the country with all faith and diligence, Sereno told reports during the Ulat sa Hudikatura in Cebu.
Alam mo 'yan ang masarap sa malinis na konsensya, it [impeachment] does not affect me at all. The work is there. It is enormous. Just imagine. If I take an inordinate amount of time looking at it and being exasperated by those documents, work will not be done so just give it the right attention so that you understand that when the appropriate time comes, you are ready, Sereno added.
Sereno said she does not want to be bothered by impeachment threats because she wants to focus on the various judicial reforms needed to expedite judicial processes.
If I take an inordinate amount of time looking at it and being exasperated by those documents, work will not be done so just give it the right attention so that you understand that when the appropriate time comes, you are ready, she noted.
The Chief Justice said she gives the allegations against her the "right attention" so she could prepare her answers when the right time comes.
"But I shouldn't be fazed because I have done nothing wrong. Nothing can be proven against me that will show that the chief justice has betrayed her oath of office. I have served the country with all faith and diligence. I will never waver from that pledge," she stressed.
Last August 2, VACC founding chair Dante Jimenez led the filing of the impeachment bid against Sereno on the grounds of culpable violation of the Constitution and betrayal of public trust.
Jimenez noted in the complaint that Sereno culpably violated the Constitution for the following reasons:
-- issuing an administrative order creating the new Judiciary Decentralized Office (JDO) and re-opening the Regional Administration Office (RCAO) in Western Visayas in the absence of an authority from the Court en banc;
-- violating the constitutional provision that appointive government officials shall not hold another public post unless provided for by law, in appointing Atty. Solomon Lumba as her staff head. Lumba was a faculty member of the University of the Philippines (UP) College of Law when he was appointed as Chief Justice staff head;
-- appointing Atty. Brenda Jay Mendoza as Philippine Mediation Center Office Chief by mere memorandum which was not referred to the court en banc for its consideration;
-- granting to members of her staff travel allowances for foreign travel charged to the Supreme Court funds without court en banc approval.
VACC also said that Sereno betrayed public trust through inexcusable negligence, for sitting on the applications for the vacant posts in the Supreme Court.
Lawyer Larry Gadon, on the other hand accused Sereno of living a lavish lifestyle when she purchased a Toyota Land Cruiser worth P5.1 million using public funds.
Gadon said Sereno wanted a luxury vehicle on top of her coterie of security personnel riding in separate vehicles and traffic escorts two motorcycles, which were also purchased using Supreme Court funds.
He added that Sereno also uses taxpayers' money to stay in opulent hotels when attending conferences in the Philippines and abroad, and flying on business or first class together with her staff and security.
But Sereno maintained that she has been living a life of modesty.
I have always lived a life of modesty. I have been prudent in use of the court's resources al the expenses for judicial reform, my travels, my security requirements are all regular and above board. Public docs the records will speak for itself and I have not objected in the public release of the same, the Chief Justice noted.
The SC earlier granted the release of additional documents for the impeachment of Sereno as requested by Gadon, who is set to file the second impeachment complaint.
The High Court granted Gadon's plea for the release of 20 documents which shall be used against Sereno impeachment case before the House of Representatives.
Among these were Sereno's SALNs since she was appointed to the SC in 2010 and documents pertaining to the purchase of Sereno's luxury service vehicle and to her travels.
Last Aug. 10, the VACC has already received the records from the Supreme Court in support of the impeachment complaint filed against Sereno.
The SC, in an en banc session last August 8, granted the release of documents, except the copy of the memorandum dated July 10, 2017 issued by Associate Justice Teresita Leonardo-De Castro.
The SC also granted the release of Sereno's memorandum for appointment of lawyer Solomon Lumba as her staff head and the subsequent letter of Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio withdrawing his signature in the said appointment over an internal issue.
Source: Philippine News Agency