Palace brushes off Sereno’s psych test

By Ira Pedrasa,

Posted at Aug 26 2012 01:30 PM | Updated as of Aug 27 2012 03:22 AM

Give Sereno a chance - Valte

MANILA, Philippines -- Malacanang brushed off a report saying newly installed Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno flunked a psychiatric and psychological report.

In an interview with radio dzRB, deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said: “We will not comment anymore on the supposed results. The report had unverified sources.”

Nevertheless, Sereno was included in the shortlist passed by the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC), she said.

A Manila Times report on Friday said: “Based on an 11-page Psychiatric and Psychological Report submitted to the JBC by a group of two medical psychiatrists and two psychologists, Sereno and [Solicitor General Francis Jardeleza] got a grade of ‘four’ after the tests.”

A grade of 1 is the highest score, while 5 is the failing mark.

The Manila Times story also went on to quote the supposed report, which further said that Sereno is “dramatic and emotional, she appears energetic and all smiles and agreeable, but with religious preoccupation in almost all significant aspects of her life.”

The report also alleged Sereno “projects a happy mood but has depressive markers too. There is a strong tendency to make decisions based on current mood thus, outcome is highly subjective and self-righteous.”

An applicant to a position in the judiciary who gets a score of 4 shall not be recommended. The JBC, however, included Sereno’s name in the shortlist.

Sereno would later be interviewed by President Benigno Aquino III himself in Malacanang. By Friday afternoon, presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda sent a statement to reporters confirming the Sereno appointment.

Valte also downplayed comments that Sereno will be beholden to Malacanang. Militant groups alleged the appointment of Sereno was a quid pro quo for her decision in the Hacienda Luisita case, where she voted to give the managers a bigger compensation.

“If you will make that kind of conclusion, you just base it on [the history] of her decisions,” Valte said.

She said that the 18 years of Sereno in the chief justice position would allow her “to put reforms and to make sure those reforms are institutionalized.”

Sereno is the first woman to become chief justice. She will retire in 2030, when she reaches the mandatory retirement age of 70.