MANILA - Supporters of Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno massed up outside of the House of Representatives Tuesday to protest impeachment proceedings against the country's top magistrate.
Protesters wore white shirts, stoles, and shawls in the color purple, which features in the robes of Supreme Court justices.
Sereno, the country's first female Chief Justice, is facing an impeachment complaint at the House of Representatives on allegations that she misdeclared her wealth and violated court procedures.
She is currently on leave to prepare for a possible Senate impeachment trial.
The National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP) expressed grave concern that the impeachment process would create animosity.
“We support and uphold the separation of powers and independence between the branches of government,” the NCCP said.
“At stake in the current bid to impeach the chief justice are precisely those separations of powers,” it added.
Pastor Caloy Dino of the Center for Community Transformation and a convenor of the Coalition of Justice, meanwhile, slammed government officials for allegedly shaking the foundations of the judiciary and endangering democracy.
“We may come from different communities, political stands, and different faiths, but we are here together to fight for Chief Justice Sereno,” he said.
“Stop the lies. Do not violate the Constitution for selfish interests. The fight of the Chief Justice is everyone’s fight for the truth and justice," he added.
Lawyer Josa Deinla, a spokesperson for Sereno’s legal team, said the Chief Justice is buoyed by the knowledge that she has the truth and supporters’ efforts.
Sereno’s only fault, Deinla said, is her being true to herself and her staunch defense of the judiciary.
“This is not just about one woman but part of a consolidated package of attacks at the judiciary,” Deinla said.