MANILA- Malacañang on Tuesday urged Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno to use her "wellness leave" to reflect on her time at the Supreme Court.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque expressed hopes that the top magistrate would use her leave to consider what would be best for the judiciary.
"As the Chief Justice takes her wellness leave, we hope she would take this opportunity to reflect on her time and legacy at the Supreme Court and to consider what would be best for the institution which she heads as top magistrate," he said.
Sereno's camp said the chief magistrate will take a leave from her duties at the Supreme Court on March 1 to 15 in preparation for a possible impeachment trial at the Senate.
ABS-CBN News sources, however, said the Supreme Court en banc forced the top magistrate to go on indefinite leave starting Thursday, March 1.
Roque added that Sereno's decision to take a leave is a personal matter, and expressed confidence that this will not affect operations at the High Court.
"The decision of Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno to file a wellness leave is a personal matter. We are confident that there would be no interruption on the day-to-day operations of the High Court and services would continue unhampered," he said.
Sereno is battling an impeachment complaint that alleges she had undeclared wealth and betrayed public trust, among others.
House lawmakers are scheduled to vote next week on whether there is probable cause for her impeachment.
In October last year, President Rodrigo Duterte dared Sereno and Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales to resign with him, saying the two had allowed themselves to be "used" in the corruption allegations against him.
In November, Roque said Sereno should resign to spare the judiciary from further damage after the impeachment of her predecessor, Renato Corona.
Lawyer Jojo Lacanilao, a spokesperson of Sereno, maintained that the Chief Justice will not step down from her post.