‘Resign’ calls mount; Sereno vows to fight to ‘the end’

CHIEF Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno waves as she arrives for a press conference in Manila on March 12, 2018. The Philippine Supreme Court chief justice vowed to fight "bullying" and save judicial independence as President Rodrigo Duterte's congressional allies launched an impeachment process March 8 to remove her from office. / AFP PHOTO / NOEL CELIS

CALLS for Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno to resign reached a thunderous crescendo Monday as court employees wore red as a sign of protest against her. Nonetheless, a defiant Sereno vowed to fight to “the bitter end.”

Judges nationwide also called on Sereno to relinquish her post, the validity of which the Office of the Solicitor General is contesting via a quo warranto petition at the Supreme Court. The petition alleges that her appointment as chief magistrate n 2012 was void from the start because of her lack of qualification, among other reasons.

Sereno is facing impeachment at the House of Representatives after its House Justice Committee found probable cause to indict her for culpable violation of the Constitution. She is primarily being put to task for failing to fully comply with the requirement on the submission of her statements of assets, liabilities and net worth.

At the SC, court employees wore red against the white worn by Sereno’s outnumbered supporters, with their spokesman pressing her resignation. Sereno vowed not to resign.

“Resigning from my post as Chief Justice will only serve to erode the independence of the Supreme Court and embolden those who demand a subservient judiciary,” Sereno said. She made the statement at a forum at the University of the Philippines-Diliman in Quezon City.

The “Red Monday” protest by court employees entered its second week and is expected to continue in the weeks to come.

— jhd