Calls for Sereno to resign mount; CJ vows not to quit

Calls for Sereno to resign mount; CJ vows not to quit

Criminal complaints have been filed yesterday before the Department of Justice (DoJ) against five staff members of the Supreme Court (SC) in connection with the alleged anomalous hiring of an over-paid information technology (IT) consultant and for sitting on the claims of retired magistrates.

A group of judges and four court employees' organizations called on Monday for the Philippines' chief justice to step down and make a "sacrifice" to restore peace and order in the judiciary, a plea she strongly rejected.

The impeachment proceedings in Congress, which is dominated by Duterte's allies, "have put the entire judiciary in disrepute", says the statement, read by the court's employees' group head, Erwin Ocson.

"The call is condemning, judging before hearing, applying additional pressure on the chief magistrate rather than according her the rights to a fair trial, to substantive and procedural due process and even to the rule of law", he said.

Gadon, the complainant in the impeachment effort against Sereno, asked state prosecutors to file graft charges against Sereno's chief judicial officer, Ma.

Retired Chief Justice Hilario Davide said Sereno is committed to defending herself in an impeachment process.

She said that resigning will allow "the weight of the office of the Chief Justice to be immediately lifted off my shoulders, freeing me to pursue many things ordinary citizens do".

"The (House) Committee on Justice has deprived me of my right to confront and cross-examine witnesses and resource persons arraigned against me is nothing but blatantly illegal", Sereno told the members of the Philippine Women Judges Association during their 23rd annual convention at the Manila Hotel. But while they found probable cause, committee members stopped short of sending the complaint to the full House to a vote to take the impeachment case to the Senate for trial.

"If they do this to me, the chief justice, they can do this to you all".

Last week, the House justice committee voted overwhelmingly to find probable cause to impeach Sereno over allegations of culpable violation of the constitution, betrayal of public trust, corruption and other high crimes.

Davide added: "Who would thereafter believe that the judiciary is the bastion of justice and fairness if the judges themselves deny these to the Chief Justice now?"

"Such ineligibility means that she is unlawfully holding the position of Chief Justice of the Supreme Court...", he added. It's as simple as that. He was an appointee of former president Joseph Estrada.

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