MANILA, Philippines – Associate Justice Teresita Leonardo-De Castro said her non-appointment as chief justice had nothing to do with her decision to speak in the impeachment proceeding against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.
Facing the House Justice committee on Wednesday, November 29, De Castro was asked by Siquijor Representative Rav Rocamora on how she felt about the appointment of Sereno in 2012.
Majority Leader Rodolfo Farinas tried to intervene, saying the question was “not relevant” to the issue being discussed. De Castro issued a reply, however.
“Matagal na akong Justice, 20 years na, walang karapatan ang isang taong maging Justice kung affected siya ng emosyon [I’ve been a justice for 20 years now. No one has the right to be a Justice if he’she is easily affected by emotion],” she said.
“Itong pag-appoint kay Sereno, ano’ng magagawa ko [This appointment of Sereno], what can I do, she was nominated by the JBC (Judicial and Bar Council),” she added.
De Castro urged the lawmakers to look at her record and performance as a member of the high court.
“Tingnan niyo ang aking ginawa kung may basehan, kung walang basehan, doon niyo sabihin na ang aking ginagawa ay base sa aking emosyon [Please look at what I’ve done. If there’s no basis for my acts, then you can conclude that I act according to emotion],” she said.
De Castro spoke about Sereno’s alleged misrepresentation of the en banc’s November 27, 2012 deliberations on the creation of the Regional Court Administrator’s Office in Region 7. Sereno’s alleged falsification of the en banc resolution was one of the acts included in the complaint filed by lawyer Lorenzo Gadon seeking to impeach Sereno.
De Castro said she decided to appear before the impeachment hearing because “I can’t stand idly by when the collegial authority of the Supreme Court is being undermined and when our decisions reached by the collective wisdom of the Supreme Court are being set aside.”
“I should speak up. What kind of a Justice am I if I just accept what is happening that is not in accordance with the Constitution and the law?” she added.
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