MANILA - Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno risks humiliation if she insists on returning to work from her indefinite leave, lawyer and impeachment complainant Lorenzo Gadon said Friday.
Gadon made the statement after Sereno maintained that she would not step down despite the agreement of Supreme Court magistrates that she should take an indefinite leave from her duties.
"If the SC (Supreme Court) can compel her to go on indefinite leave, the SC can refuse to let her go back," he said.
"She is actually being accorded an easy way out, a face-saving way out... If she insists on coming back, then she will be subjected to more humiliation," he added.
Instead of resigning, Sereno on Friday asked that she be given her day in the Senate impeachment court.
"No, I will not [resign]. I will give an account of my actions as Chief Justice to the people," she said in a forum in Baguio City.
"I do not owe anyone the duty to resign. I owe the people the duty to tell my story," she added.
Gadon, who lodged an impeachment complaint against Sereno, has accused the top magistrate of culpable violation of the Constitution, betrayal of public trust, and other high crimes including allegedly omitting income from mandatory declarations dating back a decade before she became chief justice in 2012.
Sereno has said there is high probability that she would face trial at the Senate sitting as an impeachment court. She is counting on the chamber for fairness.
Former President Benigno Aquino III appointed Sereno as chief magistrate in 2012, replacing the late Renato Corona, who was ousted over undeclared wealth. Upon her appointment, she was to serve until reaching the mandatory age of retirement in 2030.