MANILA, Philippines — Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno is taking a two-week “wellness leave” from Thursday, March 1, to prepare for her possible impeachment trial by the Senate but will “definitely not resign,” her spokesman said Tuesday.
The announcement came amid talk her fellow justices might ask Sereno, who is facing impeachment proceedings at the House of Representatives, to go on leave during the Supreme Courtt’s en banc session Tuesday.
“Hindi ko alam, dahil hindi natin alam ang nangyari sa loob (I don’t know, because we have no idea wha happens inside). Whatever is the call, wala pong planong mag-resign si Chief Justice Sereno (has no plans of resigning) and she’s preparing to face this sa Senado (in the Senate),” Lacanilao said.
“Dahil sa mga nangyayari ngayon, gusto niyang mag–umpisa … para makapag-prepare sa kanyang trial (Because of what is happening, she wants to start … preparing for her trial),” he added.
Click and watch below an explainer video by News5 anchor Ed Lingao regarding the Sereno impeachment process:
Oriental Mindoro Representative Reynaldo Umali also announced Sereno’s planned leave at a hearing of the justice committee, which he chairs and which is hearing the impeachment complaint.
“This is welcome news to the Filipino people. This will give her time to reflect on what would be best for the judiciary which she heads,” Umali said.
It will not be the first time Sereno goes on leave in connection with her impeachment. She also did so last October when the complaint against also went on leave in October last year at the time of the filining of the impeachment complaint against her.
The justice committee is about to wind up its hearings on the complaint against Sereno.
After a determination of probable cause, the panel will prepare a report for voting in plenary. If the House members vote to impeach Sereno, the case will be brought for trial to the Senate, which will sit as a court.