MANILA- The Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) has denied the request of lawyer Lorenzo Gadon, one of the complainants in the impeachment bid against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, to release the latter's psychological and psychiatric evaluation results.
In a letter responding to Gadon's request, the JBC invoked confidentiality under its rules in withholding the documents.
"[A]s to your request for a copy of the results of the psychological evaluation of Chief Justice Sereno, we regret to inform you that the Council en banc denied the same conformably to Section 3, Rule 6 of the Revised JBC Rules," the JBC letter read.
The said rule provides that "results of the examination (psychological and psychiatric evaluation) are strictly confidential and are to be used solely by the Council for evaluation purposes only."
While there exists doctor-patient confidentiality, Gadon maintained that the JBC is not bound by this rule, stressing that public office is imbued with public interest.
Gadon also asked for copies of Sereno's Personal Data Sheet (PDS) submitted upon her applications for Associate Justice in 2010, and for Chief Justice in 2012.
In his complaint, Gadon alleged that Sereno failed to make truthful declarations in her statement of assets, liabilities, and net worth or SALN and of misusing the judiciary's funds among others.
Sereno had maintained that she had not been extravagant in her expenses as the chief justice.
"I have lived a life of modesty. I have been prudent in the use of court expenses," she earlier said.
Sereno is facing a separate impeachment complaint filed by the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) and Vanguards of the Constitution.
Twenty-five lawmakers have endorsed the Gadon complaint, while 16 have endorsed the VACC-Vanguard complaint.
Sereno's predecessor, Chief Justice Renato Corona, was impeached for not disclosing a portion of his assets in his SALN.