MANILA - The Supreme Court on Thursday cleared the confusion surrounding Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno's indefinite leave, which begins today.
High court spokesperson Theodore Te explained 13 magistrates, after deliberations last Tuesday, agreed that Sereno should take an indefinite leave for several reasons.
"After extended deliberations last Tuesday, February 27, 2018, 13 of the justices present arrived at a consensus that the Chief Justice should take an indefinite leave. Several reasons were mentioned by the various justices," Te told members of the press.
Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio will be the acting chief justice of the Supreme Court, Te announced.
Sereno earlier announced that she will go an indefinite leave to prepare for a possible impeachment trial before the Senate.
Te said the Chief Justice made the announcement on her indefinite leave after consulting with the 2 most senior associate justices, with the amendment that she starts the leave Thursday.
"The Chief Justice did not request the re-scheduling of her wellness leave," added Te, who also apologized for the confusion that the announcement and statements made by Sereno's camp.
The high court spokesperson said the confusion seriously damaged the integrity of the judiciary in general and the Supreme Court in particular.
"This matter shall be dealt with in a separate proceeding," he said.
Sereno's camp initially said Sereno will be taking a wellness leave but House justice committee chair Rey Umali, citing justices as sources, said the magistrates "forced" her to go on leave.