MANILA - Associate Justice Noel Tijam on Tuesday told Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno not to bear any grudges for his wearing of a red tie at a flag raising ceremony.
Red is a protest color for employees of the judiciary who are against Sereno. Tijam did not say if his fashion statement was a show of sympathy to the protesters.
"I hope you're not angry with me because as you said, I wore a red tie during a particular flag ceremony in the court. I did not know that you adhere to a color coding for purposes of determining bias or prejudice," he told Sereno.
"Well, there was a more serious ground your honor. You said I already violated the Constitution culpably," Sereno responded.
Tijam, the justice in charge of the quo warranto petition filed by Solicitor General Jose Calida, has been accused by Sereno as one of the magistrates who "actively participated" in the "Red Monday" protest at the Supreme Court calling for her resignation.
He had also testified against Sereno during hearings of the House of Representatives justice committee on the impeachment complaint filed by lawyer Lorenzo Gadon.
Sereno earlier called for the inhibition of Tijam and Associate Justices Diosdado Peralta, Lucas Bersamin, Francis Jardeleza, and Teresita Leonardo-De Castro on allegations of bias.
The high court however rejected Sereno's plea.
Tijam also defended himself from Sereno's accusation that he had made public his sentiments that she should be removed from her post.
Sereno earlier said Tijam was quoted in a news report as saying: “If Chief Justice Sereno continues to ignore and continues to refuse to participate in the impeachment process, ergo, she is clearly liable for culpable violation of the Constitution.
"I did say that in Congress because I wanted to prod you to attend the impeachment hearing because it is a constitutional mandate," he said.