MANILA - (UPDATED) Chief Justice Teresita Leonardo-De Castro on Monday joined Supreme Court officials and employees in a flag ceremony that would be her last before stepping down.
Court employees feted De Castro with blue ribbons, blue balloons, a big "Thank You" tarpaulin and a red carpet for her 70th birthday. Her retirement takes effect on Wednesday.
Associate Justices Diosdado Peralta, Mariano Del Castillo, Estela Perlas-Bernabe, Francis Jardeleza, Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa, Noel Tijam, Andres Reyes, Jose Reyes Jr graced the ceremony.
De Castro was awarded by her fellow justices a certificate of recognition for her more than 45 years in government service.
De Castro thanked officials and employees of the court, touting also the reforms she instituted during her term, including salary increases, overtime pay and promotion of career officials.
"I’ve tried my best so that my presence would be most felt not only by the employees of the court, but also by our judges and justices nationwide. I hope you have felt it," she told her audience.
She announced that these officials and employees would receive a "token of appreciation" from her and the other justices "who have been very supportive in seeing to it your welfare and well-being are served."
"I will miss all of you," she said. "I will miss everyone with whom I worked in the course of my 10 years and 8 months here."
She also thanked her colleagues, who she said were "very supportive" of her proposals.
"With this, I say goodbye to all of you. You have given me much memories to live by the rest of my life."
After her speech, the employees sung De Castro "Happy birthday."
De Castro's 41-day stint as head of the Supreme Court is the shortest in Philippine history.
She was appointed to the post after Maria Lourdes Sereno was ousted for her failure to fully disclose the required statements of assets, liabilities, and net worth when she applied for the Supreme Court's top post in 2012.
De Castro was among 6 justices who testified against Sereno in the separate impeachment hearings at the House of Representatives. She also voted in favor of the quo warranto petition that ousted Sereno.
-- with a report from Mike Navallo, ABS-CBN News