- CJ Sereno will reportedly take a 15-day ‘wellness leave’
- However, there were reports she was ‘forced’ by her colleagues during an en banc session
- Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio will temporarily take her place
MANILA, Philippines – Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno will go on leave starting next month; this was confirmed by her spokesperson, Jojo Lacanilao.
However, Lacanilao said Sereno will take only a ‘wellness leave’ and not an indefinite leave as earlier reported.
Lacanilao also denied reports that the chief magistrates was forced to go on an indefinite leave by her colleagues during an en banc session where her impeachment case was tackled by the Supreme Court justices.
“No, she’s not forced. It’s her personal decision to go actually on leave. There is nothing, I think, that we can show based on records that the Supreme Court has done to force her in any way to actually take this leave,” said Lacanilao in an interview with ANC.
Sereno was supposed to take leave on March 12 to 23, but this has been moved to an earlier date, from March 1 to 15, Lacanilao said.
“It has already been scheduled from March 15 to 23 but she is advancing it so she can prepare for her defense at the Senate,” the lawyer explained.
House justice committee chair Oriental Rep. Reynaldo Umali also lambasted Sereno’s camp for giving conflicting statements to the media about the leave.
“They’re telling lies. ‘Yung wellness leave it was an indefinite leave. Majority, if not all of en banc head, forced her to go on leave,” said Umali. “We are fed up with lies. We are fed up with deception.”
During her absence, Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio will reportedly take her place as acting Chief Justice.