Sereno returns to SC, ends indefinite leave

MANILA Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno on Wednesday returned to the Supreme Court for the first time, ending her indefinite leave which started last March 1.

This was confirmed by Atty. Jojo Lacanilao, one of Sereno's spokespersons.

"The Chief Justice is in front of me and now inside her office. She arrived around 7:30 a.m.," Lacanilao said in a phone interview with reporters.

Sereno went to the high court intending to resume her duties as Chief Justice.

The embattled top magistrate's return to work comes before the high court's conduct of a special en banc (full court) session to discuss the quo warranto petition filed against her by Solicitor General Jose Calida.

In an advisory posted at the SC Public Information Office's Twitter account, Acting Chief Justice Antonio T. Carpio announced that SC En Banc will hold a Special En Banc Session at 10 a.m. Friday.

"Further advise will be given on that day as to whether there will be a media briefing thereafter," it said.

Sereno earlier said she would use her leave of absence to prepare her legal defense in her impeachment case once it reaches the Senate.

The Chief Justice is facing impeachment trial for alleged culpable violation of the Constitution, corruption, other high crimes and betrayal of public trust.

The complaint was filed by lawyer Larry Gadon who claimed that Sereno did not declare in her Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN) the exorbitant lawyer's fees of USD745,000 or PHP37 million which she received from the Philippine government.

The impeachment complainant said the issue of SALN declaration is the strongest case presented against Sereno.

The complaint also alleged that Sereno committed corruption when she, among other things, used public funds to finance her extravagant and lavish lifestyle by ordering the purchase of a brand-new luxurious Toyota Land Cruiser 2017 model as her personal vehicle, amounting to more than PHP5 million; and stay in opulent hotels when attending conferences in the country and abroad. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency

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