By: Xave Gregorio
Supreme Court Associate Justice Teresita de Castro is out to correct, not shame Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno for her actions which allegedly “transgressed” the powers of the High Court and the court administrator.
De Castro appeared before the House Committee on Justice on Wednesday (November 29) to testify on questionable actions of Sereno, including her establishment of a Judiciary Decentralization Office allegedly without the approval of the Supreme Court En Banc.
“I’ve always been very respectful to the Chief Justice even if I am so much aghast with what she has done in issuing the administrative order,” De Castro said.
“I always show respect and courtesy to her. Even if I have seen something wrong with what she has done, still when I write a memorandum on whatever wrong she has done, still i am very respectful
De Castro alleged that Sereno issued an administrative order which went against two 2006 resolutions of the full court on the Regional Court Administration Office (RCAO).
“When I compared the administrative order issued by the Chief Justice it did not conform to the provisions of this administrative matter adopted by the Court En Banc,” De Castro told lawmakers.
She was pertaining to Sereno’s Administrative Order No. 175-2012, “designating the head for Judiciary Decentralization Office in the seventh judicial region,” which she said Sereno issued without the knowledge of other members of the High Court.
De Castro said she only came to know about Sereno’s administrative order after they were invited to the launching of RCAO 7 in Central Visayas on November 29, 2012.
She then called Sereno out in a memorandum sent to all SC magistrates, which led to the matter being discussed in an en banc session where Sereno committed to revise the memorandum.
However, De Castro alleged that Sereno told former clerk of court Enriquietta Vidal that the full court ratified her administrative order.
This prompted De Castro to pen another letter saying the “Chief Justice cannot deprive of the court en banc of its constitutional duty over all courts and its personnel.”
She also said the administrative order has “transgressed the said constitutional authority of the Court En Banc and the statutory authority of the court administrator.”
“I just want to correct what has been done. To put things in the proper order as decided by the court in previous resolutions,” De Castro told lawmakers.
Sereno’s re-opening of RCAO 7 on her own is among the 27 allegations in the impeachment complaint lodged against her by lawyer Lorenzo Gadon.
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