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Behave ladies! De Castro snubs Sereno, torches CJ for discussing ouster case in front of lady judges

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Supreme Court (SC) Associate Justice Teresita Leonardo-De Castro on Thursday expressed dismay over Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno’s speech on the Office of the Solicitor General’s (OSG) quo warranto petition against the latter, during the annual national convention of the Philippine Women Judges Association (PWJA) held at the Manila Hotel.

De Castro, who is also PWJA president, said Sereno should not have used the event to discuss her case which was subjudice. The two snubbed each other after crossing paths on stage in full view of the audience and cameras.

“I am very sorry that the Chief Justice has taken this opportunity to discuss a matter which is subjudice. We have given her all the courtesy and I sincerely hope that she should have not dealt with the matter that is pending in the Court,” De Castro said.

The OSG’s quo warranto petition, which seeks to nullify Sereno’s appointment to the judiciary’s top post, is currently pending in the SC.

The High Court has earlier ordered Sereno to respond to the petition within 10 days.

Sereno is currently on an indefinite leave of absence from the high court to prepare for her looming trial at the Senate.

In her speech at the event, which coincided with the celebration of the International Women’s Day, Sereno slammed her detractors for resorting to a different forum other than the process of impeachment, which under the Constitution, is the only legal method to remove a sitting Chief Justice from office.

“Indeed, I look at any forum to try me other than the constitutionally exclusive forum of impeachment as an admission by the complainant and my other detractors that after 15 hearings, they have failed to come up with any evidence with which I can be convicted in the Senate,” Sereno emphasized.

“Sila ang nagsimula bakit ayaw nilang tapusin? Napakaaga naman yata para umamin sila na wala silang napala kundi matinding kabiguan kaya’t kung anu-ano na lamang ang gimik ang ginagawa nila masunod lamang ang kanilang nais.[They started it, how come they do not want to finish it? Isn’t it too early to admit that they got nothing except utter failure thus they resort to all sorts of gimmick to get what they wanted.],” Sereno added.

Sereno said she would not resign and see through her impeachment.

Sereno was applauded by the women judges but not by her peers at the Supreme Court.

Aside from De Castro, present during the event are Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio and Associate Justices Presbitero Velasco Jr., Mariano Del Castillo, Samuel Martires, Noel Tijam, Diosdado Peralta and Estela Perlas Bernabe.

In a 38-2 vote, the House of Representatives’ Justice Committee on Thursday found probable cause to impeach Sereno.

The committee conducted 18 hearings on the determination of probable cause spanning for five months.

“Throughout the probable cause hearings, this committee has gathered sufficient evidence to provide us with the ammunition to prosecute this case towards victory,” Umali said. (PNA)