MANILA, Philippines - After the call for the chief justice and senior justices to release their statements of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALNs), Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago urged newly appointed Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno yesterday to release the results of the psychological tests as well.
Santiago noted Sereno has been the subject of some derogatory remarks about her official conduct, which the senator believes came from Sereno’s “enemies within the SC (Supreme Court).”
“I think that all of this is very destructive to the judiciary as an institution, so as much as possible, I think she should take effort to have the JBC, (of) which she is now the chair, release the results of the psychiatric tests of the applicants,” Santiago said.
Sen. Edgardo Angara frowned on the issue of psychological tests and the standard on which these are based.
“Who judges whether your psychological test is low or below the sanity level? Who decides whether it is up to the standard or not?” asked Angara, a veteran lawyer.
In Sereno’s case, Angara thinks the issue would be on her temperament.
“Temperament is important, and what I’m saying is there might be no benchmark on what is acceptable psychiatrist threshold,” Angara said.
Meanwhile, Santiago also recommended that Sereno should reveal the real score on reports that she has not included in her SALN the compensation she received when she was part of the litigation of the Philippine International Air Terminals Co. (Piatco) case.
The senator said transparency on these issues would help the new chief justice in ensuring integrity under her 18-year watch.
Santiago warned that Sereno might become the subject of more criticisms following the “subtle messages” sent by senior SC justices who reportedly snubbed her oath-taking ceremonies and a luncheon prepared in her honor last Tuesday.
“After the moment of victory, there is always the reality that the SC, particularly the senior justices, are extremely unhappy over the fact that she jumped the cue... They look on it like any innovation as a serious disturbance of the present order,” Santiago noted.
Although the senator recognizes the President’s power to appoint the SC chief, she foresees a “divided court” if other justices do not support Sereno’s leadership.