WATCH | Scrutiny of Sereno’s psychological assessment a ‘misuse’ – Psychological Association of the Philippines

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MANILA, Philippines — Psychologists on Friday condemned “the unethical practice of using confidential psychological information for purposes of discrediting or damaging a person’s character.”

The Psychological Association of the Philippines, in a statement, called the scrutiny of the psychological assessment of Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno by the House of Representatives’ justice committee, which heard the impeachment complaint against the magistrate, “a misuse of those results.”

The House panel devoted an almost four-hour executive session to Sereno’s psychological test. Dr. Geraldine Tria, a psychiatrist who analyzed the test results, said the Chief Justice displayed signs of “mental disturbance” and described her IQ of 109 is “average.”

But the PAP called claims Sereno “failed” her psychological evaluation “misleading,” explaining that “no one ‘passes’ or ‘fails’ a psychological assessment. Instead, a psychologist recommends a person to a position after the assessment indicates that he/she possesses the characteristics that fit the demands of the given position.”

In his impeachment complaint, lawyer Lorenzo Gadon claimed Sereno “failed” the psychological test administered by the Judicial and Bar Council and is, thus, unfit for her position.

The group stressed it was “neither supporting nor opposing” the issues raised against Sereno but only sought to explain “the functions of psychological assessments and the diagnoses of psychological conditions.”

But PAP said psychological assessments are “conducted for a specific purpose, and should only be used for that purpose,” which is “to help understand a person’s functioning in various aspects of life for informed decision making (for example, for job positions) or for treatment planning.”

Thus, “to use a psychological assessment conducted in 2012 (which was for the purpose of Chief Justice Sereno’s appointment) for the current legislative proceedings is a misuse of those results.”

PAP said it “upholds the dignity of every human being” and rejected “recent narratives that directly or indirectly use psychological assessments to stigmatize those with mental or psychological conditions.”