MANILA - The Chief Justice had not even taken her seat when her fellow magistrate took the mic and censured her just concluded remarks.
Associate Justice Teresita De Castro on Thursday issued an immediate reprimand against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno for venting about her impeachment woes in a public event.
Sereno, in a speech at a Philippine Women Judges Association (PWJA) event in Manila, had addressed her situation, slamming individuals who were "harassing" and "bullying" her to unseat her as chief justice.
"I’m very sorry that the Chief Justice has taken this opportunity to discuss a matter which is sub judice (pending in court). We have given her all the courtesy and I sincerely hope that she should not have dealt with a matter which is pending with the court," De Castro, PWJA president, said just as Sereno's made her way back to her seat.
Sparse applause was heard after De Castro's remarks as Sereno shook hands with other guests of honor, among them Acting Chief Justice Antonio Carpio and Batangas Rep. Vilma Santos.
Sereno is facing an impeachment case in the House of Representatives for allegedly committing administrative lapses as chief justice and failing to file her Statements of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth before she was appointed top magistrate in 2012.
She is also facing a separate petition at the Supreme Court seeking to void her 2012 appointment. The high court has directed her camp to reply.
Sereno's defiant speech did not mention names, but De Castro was among justices who testified against her during impeachment proceedings at the House of Representatives.
De Castro and Acting Chief Justice Antonio Carpio, who was also present at the event, were among the justices who decided that Sereno should go on an indefinite leave due to "various reasons."