MANILA - Malacañang on Monday said it is up to Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno whether to heed the call of employees of the judiciary for her to resign or not.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said, while the decision to resign ultimately rests on Sereno, the chief magistrate should take the sentiments of employees of the judiciary into consideration.
“I guess it’s up to her. We left the decision to her. No one can force her to resign if she doesn’t want. However, I think the sentiment even of the lower court judges have been made known, and we can only hope that the Chief Justice will take all these sentiments into consideration,” Roque said in a news conference.
“So far, her colleagues have asked her to go on indefinite leave, and the lower court judges have asked her to resign. We can only ask her to consider all these calls from various stakeholders within the courts itself.”
Judges, officials, and rank-and-file employees of the judiciary backed calls for embattled Chief Justice on-leave Maria Lourdes Sereno to resign from her post amid impeachment proceedings against her in the House of Representatives.
The call was formally made during Monday’s flag-raising ceremony at the Supreme Court (SC) grounds, the second "Red Monday" activity following Sereno’s indefinite leave beginning March 1.
The call for resignation was made by the Philippine Judges Association, the Philippine Association of Court Employees, the Supreme Court Employees Association, Supreme Court Assembly of Lawyer Employees, and the Sandiganbayan Employees Association.
Sereno, however, again stood her ground against calls for her resignation, saying she wants to air her side in the impeachment process.
In her speech in a forum at the University of the Philippines - Diliman, Sereno said resignation would be the easier way out but it will also mean she does not stand by the rule of law.
"I do not make choices in life on the basis of the easier option but what is the right thing to do. And without the slightest doubt, the right thing to do is to fight this impeachment to the end," she said.
"Resigning from my post as Chief Justice will only serve to erode the independence of the Supreme Court and embolden those who demand a subservient judiciary," she added.