MANILA, Philippines — Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez insinuated on Friday, January 19, that Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno is suffering from mental health problems.
“I think mag–a-appear iyong psychiatrist na tumingin sa kanya at magte-testify na talagang hindi siya umabot doon sa required qualification. May problema talaga. Ang mahirap, may tililing na justice (I think the psychiatrist who examined her will appear and testify she did not meet the required qualification. There really is a problem. The difficulty is a justice with mental poblems),” Alvarez said in an interview in Iloilo, a copy of which was provided to reporters covering the House of Representatives.
“Kita niyo naman iyong actions, talagang may tililing ‘di ba? Kayo na ang humusga, ‘wag na ako (You see her actions, she does have mental problems doesn’t she? You be the judge, not me),” he added.
Sereno is the subject of an impeachment complaint filed by lawyer Lorenzo Gadon for alleged betrayal of public trust, culpbale violation of the Constitution, graft and other high crimes.
She has refused to appear at the House hearings and said she would await formal trial before the Senate.
Among those who have attended the hearings and testified against her are associate justices of the Supreme Court.
Justice committee chairman Oriental Mindoro Representative Reynaldo Umali earlier broached the idea of inviting the psychiatrists who reportedly gave Sereno failing marks in her tests and whose contracts were not renewed when she assumed office.
In her verified answer to the Gadon complaint, Sereno denied that she failed the psychological examination administered by the Judicial and Bar Council.
Alvarez has interpreted Sereno’s refusal to attend the impeachment proceeding to mean she is lying.
“She refused to face her accusers and the witnesses. So isa lang po ang ibig sabihin niyan, talagang ‘pag tayo ay nagsisinungaling at alam natin ‘yon, mahirap pong harapin ang katotohanan. Iyon po ang nangyayari ngayon (this can only mean one thing, whenever we lie and we know it, it is difficult to face the truth. That is what’s happening now),” Alvarez said.