MANILA - Supreme Court employees on Monday urged embattled Chief Justice-on leave Maria Lourdes Sereno to resign amid a looming impeachment trial ahead.
Speaking during the second Red Monday protest, Supreme Court Employees Association President Erwin Ocson said Sereno must resign as the impeachment proceedings against her have compromised the honor and integrity of the judiciary.
"The pending impeachment proceedings in recent months have put the entire judiciary in dispute thereby affecting the honor and integrity of its justices, judges, officials, and rank and file personnel," he said after the flag ceremony at the Supreme Court compound.
Ocson said the court can no longer endure a "distressing atmosphere" wherein court officials are pittted against each other. He said the call for Sereno's resignation is not just for her wellness, but also for the whole judiciary.
"Ito na lamang ang aming nakikitang solusyon: ang gawin ninyo ang pinakamataas na sakripisyo na may dangal at buong paghanga buhat sa amin -- ito ang kaagad niyong pagbibitiw bilang Punong Mahistrado. Chief, it's time to let go. Please let the judiciary move on," he concluded his speech.
The camp of Sereno, meanwhile, reminded the Supreme Court employees who signed the statement of their responsibility to protect the independence of the judiciary.
Sereno Lawyer Josalee Deinla said there is presumption of innocence on the part of the Chief Justice and the only constitutional way to remove her is through impeachment.
"Gusto ho naming paalalahanan iyung mga bumubuo ng mga union at judges' association na pumirma po sa statement na iyan na may tungkulin po silang pangalagaan ang judicial independence, ang kasarinlan ng hudikatura," she told DZMM Monday
"Sinasabi po ng constitution na kailangan pagdaanan ni Chief Justice ang paglilitis para maisiwalat ang katotohanan. Tanging sa ganitong paraan lang ho siya mahuhusgahan," she added.