Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno has been directed by her colleagues in the Supreme Court (SC) to respond to a lawyer’s plea to release her psychiatric and psychological evaluation results.
Sereno was given 5 days to comment on the request of lawyer Lorenzo Gadon, who had filed an impeachment complaint against her before the House of Representatives.
The order, issued on Tuesday’s en banc session, also directed the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC), which earlier thumbed down Gadon’s request on grounds of confidentiality.
Sereno is ex-officio chairperson of the JBC, the body that screens applicants to the judiciary and the Ombudsman and Deputy Ombudsmen posts.
In his three-page motion, Gadon argued the tests, conducted as a requisite for Sereno’s application to the chief magistrate post in 2012, are "imbued with great public interest.”
“Considering that the JBC is ‘under the supervision of the [SC],’ as expressly provided in Section 8 (1), Article VIII, 1987 Constitution, and the results of the psychological/psychiatric test of Chief Justice Sereno are not covered by the confidentiality rule as they concern her very fitness to be and remain as Chief Justice, and thus imbued with great public interest, it is most respectfully prayed that this honorable court reverse or reconsider the disapproval by the JBC and order the immediate release of certified true copies of the results of the psychiatric tests of Chief Justice Sereno,” Gadon’s motion read.
In his 55-page impeachment complaint, Gadon stated the following allegations:
"Early on, Chief Justice Sereno already failed the psychological exam administered by the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC), garnering a grade of four (4). Under the existing JBC policy, 'an applicant to any position in the judiciary with a grade of four (4) is unfit for the job.' Her psychiatric report described her as 'dramatic and
emotional.' True enough, this has been manifested throughout her five (5) years in office.”
The SC had earlier allowed the release of documents relevant to Gadon’s impeachment complaint.
Gadon’s complaint alleged Sereno is guilty of culpable violation of the Constitution, corruption, other high crimes, and betrayal of public trust.
Sereno's spokesman, Carlo Cruz earlier assured that the chief magistrate remains committed to her work in the Supreme Court even after the House of Representatives justice committee found an ouster complaint against Sereno sufficient in form and substance.
Cruz also belied the charges against Sereno, saying "many of the allegations in the Gadon complaint are unsupported by evidence or rely mainly on hearsay consisting of newspaper clippings."