MANILA (UPDATED) - Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno got a rating of 4 in her psychological report, a former Supreme Court clerk said Wednesday.
After prodding from House Justice Committee chair Rey Umali, former SC clerk of court Atty. Enriqueta Vidal said Sereno was among those who got the second to the lowest rating in a 5-point psych test.
Vidal had been waiting for 12 hours and was almost unable to testify when Quezon City Rep. Kit Belmonte pointed out to Umali that she has not yet been asked any questions.
This prompted Umali to ask a series of questions—from the notes of Sereno to the results of her psychological test.
Vidal was hesitant at first to answer Umali's query as to who among the applicants for chief justice in 2012 got a rating of 4 in their psych tests.
She said there were more than 1 and since she could not recall the others, she said it would be best not to answer the question.
However, Umali reminded her that she was testifying before the committee hearing the impeachment complaint against the Chief Justice. He added that such a detail would be hard to miss.
Vidal finally relented and confirmed that Sereno indeed received a rating of 4, the second lowest rating in a scale of 1-5.
As clerk of court, Vidal sat as ex-officio secretary of the Judicial and Bar Council, giving her access to the records of applicants for the Justice position.
The Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) earlier rejected complainant Larry Gadon's request for copies of psych exam report of the chief justice, citing confidentiality of records under its rules.
Sereno's camp said the chief justice was unaware of the exam results when 2 psychiatrists, who allegedly gave her failing marks in the exam, were sacked.
The results are nonetheless "irrelevant and immaterial, let alone impeachable," Sereno spokesperson Atty. Josalee Deinla said in a statement.
"To bring it up is to necessarily question the discretion of the JBC in finding the Chief Justice qualified and competent for the position, something that is beyond the purview of an impeachment proceeding under the Constitution," Deinla said.
"But we know of course that the Chief Justice’s detractors are only using the matter to smear her good name," she added.