Calls for Philippine chief justice to resign

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While five out of 15 groups of judges and employees called on the chief justice on Monday to step down, the local court judges and employees want to remain neutral in this controversy. Most of those who attended the flag-raising ceremony wore shades of red to dramatize their cause.

One of the complaints accused SC En Banc Clerk of Court Anna-Li Papa-Gombio and Court Attorney IV Jocelyn Fabian of the Office of the Chief Justice of violating Republic Act (RA) 3019, also known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, for having sat on the claims of retired magistrates. The statement was read by Erwin Ocson, president of the SC Employees Association (SCEA).

The call was formally made during Monday's flag-raising ceremony at the Supreme Court (SC) grounds, the second "Red Monday" activity following Sereno's indefinite leave beginning March 1.

"And without the slightest doubt, the right thing to do is to fight this impeachment to the end", she said. "I will not resign". "It will end the unrelenting attacks against my person, my staff, and other court officials".

"The president keeps on disclaiming any knowledge or participation about this whole thing", she said in a television interview.

Finally, Sereno made it clear that she was not resigning but will prepare to fight the accusations against her!

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Sereno, 57, refuses to quit amid what she calls bullying by "those in power", which she says is threatening the independence of the judiciary. Everyone is entitled to a day in court. "Let's remember, I haven't even begun to give my side of the story", Sereno said.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said, while the decision to resign ultimately rests on Sereno, the chief magistrate should take the sentiments of employees of the judiciary into consideration.

The Articles of Impeachment from the House committee will be submitted for voting by all members of the House of Representatives. If a third of the House agrees with the impeachment findings, Sereno would be considered impeached and a trial in the Senate would begin.

Under the Constitution, once the House approves the imp0eachment resolution, it would refer it to the Senate which is to constitute itself into an impeachment court to try Sereno. She has denied all the charges.

Aside from the impeachment, last week, Solicitor General Jose Calida filed a quo warranto, asking the Supreme Court to declare Sereno's appointment null and void, questioning her qualifications to be chief justice.

"If they do this to me, the chief justice, they can do this to you all".