Palace to CJ Sereno: Resign to save judiciary from further damage

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 6) — Malacañang on Monday urged Supreme Court Chief Justice (CJ) Ma. Lourdes Sereno to resign to save the country's judicial branch from further damage.

Incoming presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said he does not think the judiciary can survive another impeachment decision that will find another chief justice guilty of wrongdoing.

"We cannot wait for that. If we were to wait for that, it is the finding of guilt that will undermine the independence of the judiciary. So I call upon Chief Justice Sereno to really consider resigning if only to spare the institution from any further damage," Roque said in a press briefing.

This follows the removal of former Chief Justice Renato Corona in the Aquino administration for his failure to disclose his statement of assets, liabilities, and net worth to the public.

Roque said, however, Malacañang is not trying to undermine independence of the judiciary, even as President Rodrigo Duterte has openly backed the impeachment complaint against Sereno.

He said the impeachment cannot be considered as a means to undermine the institution because it is a constitutional procedure.

Roque clarified he is not pre-empting the Senate's pending decision, but he revealed that when he was in Congress, he had access to evidence against Sereno which he believes could oust her.

He said he was "very bothered" by the allegations.

Atty. Carlo Cruz, Sereno's impeachment spokesperson, said resignation is not an option for the chief justice.

"The CJ needs to face the impeachment proceeding precisely to preserve the dignity and independence of both the Supreme Court and the Office of the Chief Justice. She has done nothing to "damage" the institution, and she has been doing everything to strengthen it," Cruz said.

On October, Duterte challenged Sereno and Ombudsman Conchita Carpio to resign due to alleged corruption.

READ: Duterte: I won’t submit to Ombudsman’s authority in wealth probe

This follows the filing of an impeachment complaint against Sereno by lawyer Larry Gadon on August, which was endorsed by 25 members of the House of Representatives.

READ: One of two impeachment raps vs. Chief Justice Sereno hurdles House panel

The House Committee on Justice then declared that the impeachment complaint has sufficient grounds.

Another impeachment complaint against Sereno, filed by Dante Jimenez of Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption and Eligio Mallari of Vanguard of the Philippine Constitution, was dismissed by the House due to insufficiency in form and substance.

CNN Philippines' Ina Andolong contributed to this report