MANILA - (UPDATED) Malacañang on Monday said Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno should resign to spare the judiciary from further damage.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said it would be better for Sereno to step down, saying it would be damaging for the judiciary if its highest magistrate will be ousted through impeachment for the second time.
"I call upon Chief Justice Sereno to really consider resigning if only to spare the institution from further damage," he said.
"I don’t think the judiciary can survive another decision to remove another sitting chief justice," he added.
Roque was referring to the removal through impeachment trial of the late Chief Justice Renato Corona.
Corona was removed after the Senate, sitting as an impeachment court, found him guilty of betrayal of public trust and culpable violation of the Constitution for failing to fully disclose his wealth.
Sereno is facing an impeachment case over the same issue, on top of other allegations of mismanagement in the affairs of the high court.
Asked whether his call for Sereno to resign reflects the sentiment of President Rodrigo Duterte, Roque said: "Of course.”
Roque, an outgoing member of the House of Representatives, added that as member of the chamber’s committee on justice, he believes the allegations against the chief magistrate are supported by "convincing evidence."
Resignation however has never been an option for Sereno as she has done nothing to "damage" the judiciary, said her lawyer Carlo Cruz.
The country's top magistrate, Cruz added, needs to face the impeachment proceedings to preserve dignity of her office. With Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News