First female chief justice? 'Technically,' says De Castro


Posted at Aug 28 2018 01:32 PM | Updated as of Aug 28 2018 10:59 PM

Ousted Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno (R) stands next to Supreme Court Associate Justice Teresita de Castro during the annual convention of the country's judges in Manila, March 8, 2018, two months before the high court ruled to remove her as top magistrate. Ted Aljibe, Agence France-Presse/File

MANILA- (UPDATE) Chief Justice Teresita Leonardo-De Castro claimed on Tuesday that she is "technically" the first female chief justice of the Philippines.

Sought for comment over Ombudsman Samuel Martires' earlier  statement that she is the first female top magistrate, De Castro said: "Technically, I think he is correct." 

Maria Lourdes Sereno was the first woman to be appointed as chief justice. During her appointment in 2012, Sereno was expected to serve for 18 years, or until July 2030, when she reaches the mandatory retirement age of 70.

But her appointment was invalidated by the Supreme Court in May for failure to fully disclose her wealth. She was replaced by 69-year-old De Castro, who had publicly criticized Sereno and was among the eight magistrates who voted for her ouster.

Sereno had previously stated that De Castro harbored resentment after she accepted her appointment as the top magistrate. 

De Castro, however, denied being "bitter" about Sereno's appointment and insisted that their disagreements are only "work-related."

She is expected to serve at the helm of the top court until her retirement in October.