SC suspends Sereno's unilaterally-issued reso

By Ira Pedrasa,

Posted at Dec 04 2012 06:20 PM | Updated as of Dec 05 2012 02:59 AM

Sereno clashes with justices over RCAO in Cebu

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) - The Supreme Court (SC) has suspended in the meantime a unilaterally-issued resolution by Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno and moved to Tuesday a final decision on the matter.

This, after Sereno made herself unavailable for a full-court meeting on Tuesday.

On the agenda this morning was a unilaterally-decided resolution for the creation of a Regional Court Administration Office (RCAO) in Cebu City, which the full court already denied in the past, sources said.

Sereno filed a sick leave a few hours before the en banc meeting scheduled at 10:00 a.m. today. This came a day after she made the rounds of justices supposedly in an attempt to push for her resolution, the sources said.

The Manila Times reported on Monday that Sereno ordered the opening of the RCAO without the authority from the entire court. She even allegedly went to Cebu City last week for the reopening of the RCAO and also appointed Judge Geraldine Faith Econg as the officer-in-charge there. sources said Sereno later went to the offices of at least two different justices the whole day of Monday to find out how the report found its way in the hands of media. The SC, under her leadership, is implementing a “dignified silence” stance.

The justices were adamant, however, in rejecting the RCAO. There was already a previous agreement by the full court not to proceed with the RCAO.

In 2006, the SC approved an Asian Development Bank-funded pilot testing for the decentralization of administrative functions in a particular region. After more than three years of testing, the plan was scrapped because it was supposedly a failure.

Sereno revived the matter on her own, the sources said.

Senior Justice Antonio Carpio presided over the meeting today.

The magistrates today also ordered Econg not to make any actions vis-à-vis the RCAO.

Sereno to fly to US

Next Tuesday, however, Sereno is expected to fly to the United States, the day of the full-court meeting. She also supposedly has an event in Malaysia later this week.

This is not the first time that Sereno has clashed with her colleagues over issues affecting the SC.

She was appointed chief justice by President Benigno Aquino III back in September after a months-long search to replace Chief Justice Renato Corona. The latter was ousted by the Senate in an impeachment trial in May.