Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno on Thursday, March apologized for what she believed is the confusion over her indefinite leave. The embattled CJ Cereno released a statement a few hours after the thirteen (13) SC justices contradicted the version of her spokespersons, regarding her leave of absence from her duty.
In an interview with reporters last Tuesday, Sereno’s spokesperson, lawyer Jojo Lacanilao said that Sereno’s leave had long been scheduled even before the proceedings against her has started. Instead of her original schedule of break period from of March 12 to 23, he said that Cereno decided to take a leave from March 1 to 15.
But this Thursday, the Supreme Court en banc via 13 SC justices released a joint statement, saying that Cereno made an indefinite leave and that she did not did not request the rescheduling of her wellness leave. The letter was signed by the 13 justices and was read to media by SC Spokesman Theodore Te in front of reporters.
“The justices present arrived at a consensus that the Chief Justice should take an indefinite leave. The court en banc regret the confusion that the announcements and media releases of the spokespersons of the Chief Justice have caused, which seriously damaged the integrity of the Judiciary in general and the Supreme Court in particular.” Te said.
A few hours later, CJ Sereno released a statement, saying that she understands the 13 justices regarding the confusion of her leave. However, she noted that she is agreed to go on an indefinite leave, and that the SC rules do not contain any provision on indefinite leave. Sereno also emphasized that she requested for the rescheduling of her wellness leave.
“It is unfortunate that my plan of making use of an already approved wellness leave in relation to an indefinite leave was inaccurately conveyed for which I apologize. I have not resigned and I will not resign. This indefinite leave is not a resignation. I will devote my time to the preparation of my Senate defense and work on the cases in my docket.” Sereno said.
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