MANILA, Philippines — The Office of the Solicitor General can start looking into the possibility of questioning before the Supreme Court the validity of the appointment of Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno based on her psychiatric test, according to Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez.
“Kung ako ang tatanungin mo, dapat may mag-file ng case sa Supreme Court questioning the validity of the appointment. The most logical (body that) can do this is the Office of the Solicitor General, they should study this angle,” Alvarez said at a news conference on Wednesday, Feb. 28.
Lawyer Lorenzo “Larry” Gadon, who filed the impeachment complaint against Sereno, had alleged that the chief justice failed the psychological exam administered by the Judicial and Bar Council, receiving a grade of “four” with “five” being the lowest, making her unfit for the job.
At the Justice committee hearing to determine probable cause on the impeachment complaint against Sereno on Tuesday, February 27, psychologist Dr. Geraldine Tria said that Sereno’s performance was “marginal.”
In her assessment of Sereno’s behavior from what she had observed in the hearings, Tria said the Chief Justice manifested five of the nine symptoms of “mental disturbance” as enumerated in their standardized diagnostic statistical manual.
These include grandiosity, preoccupied fantasies of unlimited power or brilliance, sense of entitlement, interpersonally exploitative in order to take advantage of others to achieve an end, and lack of empathy.
Alvarez said Sereno’s a number of acts came out of the hearings that could be ground for impeachment, such as betrayal of public trust.
“Doon sa psychiatric test, nag-pretend ka na psychologically capable ka, eh bumagsak ka naman, dinaya mo ang mga tao,” he said.
“Impeachment presupposes a valid appointment, pero halimbawa, hindi ka nag-comply sa requisites na kinakailangan for that position, is the appointment valid?” Alvarez added.
The House leader said that if the appointment is “void ab initio” (from the beginning), the impeachment process would be moot and academic “because there is nobody to impeach in the first place.”
“In effect, matatanggal siya, kasi the Supreme Court will declare that her appointment is not valid. . . The Solicitor General can file a case,” he said.