Sereno 'battle-ready' for impeachment trial

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 09 2018 07:13 PM | Updated as of Mar 09 2018 07:15 PM

Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno speaks at the "Laban ng Kababaihan, Laban ng Bayan" forum at the St. Scholastica's College in Manila, March 7, 2018. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - "Calm and battle-ready."

This was how Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno described her state of mind as she faced moves seeking her ouster.

"I am confident that in time, the baselessness of the charges against me will come out so I am, as you can see, calm and battle-ready," she told the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines (FOCAP) on Friday.

A House of Representatives panel on Thursday ruled that there are enough grounds to impeach Sereno. The plenary is next set to vote on whether or not to transmit the articles of impeachment to the Senate, which will serve as the impeachment court.

Sereno reiterated her hopes of defending herself before a Senate impeachment court noting that the sooner the complaint is elevated to the chamber, "the better for everyone."

The top magistrate, who is currently on leave from her court duties, is facing an ouster complaint from lawyer Lorenzo Gadon, who accused her of misdeclaring her wealth and violating court policies.

"Part of my wellness leave is going around, seeing more people, so I think I'm doing fine," Sereno said.

Like her, Sereno's family is taking the impeachment case against her "with equanimity," the chief magistrate said.

Sereno also reiterated that she would not back down.

"I think the lesson that should be seen, the message that should be received by the public is [that] the Chief Justice, when she believes that the cause is right, and the cause here is judicial independence, will fight no matter the chances, regardless of the odds," she said.

"I'm going to stick it out to the end," she added.

Apart from the impeachment complaint, Sereno 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.