MANILA, Philippines — Amid calls by her detractors for her to resign and the House of Representatives’ impending vote on whether there’s probable cause in the impeachment complaint filed against her, Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno on Thursday stood pat with her decision not to give up her post.
In a March 1, 2018 statement, the beleaguered Sereno clarified that her decision to take an indefinite leave of absence was not tantamount to voluntarily ending her office as the country’s top magistrate.
“I have not resigned and I will not resign. This indefinite leave is not a resignation. I will devote my time to the preparation of my Senate defense and work on the cases in my docket,” she said.
Also in the same statement, Sereno said that while she “understands the sense of the 13 justices that they expected me, in the normal course of events, to cause the announcement of my indefinite leave,” she said that “I am also bound by the appropriate administrative rules.”
She explained that instead of saying she would go on an indefinite leave, she had to “qualify” it based on Rule 7, Section 6(c) of the Internal Rules of the Supreme Court.
The said section states that, “Members who are on wellness leave or who are on vacation or sick leave for at least 15 continuous calendar days shall be exempt from raffle.”
Sereno said that last Wednesday, she requested in writing the rescheduling of her wellness leave “in view of my restudy of the rules.”
“It is unfortunate that my plan of making use of an already approved wellness leave in relation to an indefinite leave was inaccurately conveyed for which I apologize,” she said.