Sereno: If I resign, other high-ranking officials may be the next victims

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 12) — Embattled Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno stood firm despite calls for her resignation, saying this may be a precedent to intimidate some officials.

"Kung ako ay bibitiw, mauulit na naman ito sa susunod na biktima," Sereno said in a press briefing, Monday. "Maaaring bibiktimahin ang isang huwes, o komisyuner ng mga Constitutional Commissions. Maaaring biktimahin pati ang mga pinakamataas na luklok na mga opisyales."

(Translation: If I resign, the same thing will be done to other officials. They can go after a judge, or a commissioner of the Constitutional Commissions. They can go after other high-ranking officials.)

A number of judges and court employees associations called for Sereno's resignation during the High Court's flag-raising ceremony.

READ: Judges, court employees call for Sereno's resignation

Sereno said resigning will show she does not stand by the rule of law.

"Kung magreresign po ako, ibig sabihin, hindi ko po pinaninindigan ang rule of law na ang bawat naakusahan ay may karapatang madinig at ipagtanggol ang sarili," Sereno said.

(Translation: If I step down, it will show I'm not standing by the rule of law that all accused have the right to be heard and defend themselves.)

Earlier this month, Sereno said the House Justice Committee was unfair when it did not allow her lawyers to participate in the impeachment proceedings.

READ: House Justice Committee has been 'blatantly unfair' — Sereno

She reiterated her desire to be heard before the Senate, that will sit as impeachment court.

The House Justice Committee found probable cause to impeach Sereno.

The committee's five chairpersons will draft the committee report listing the articles of impeachment to be submitted to the House plenary. Members of the committee will meet on March 14 to approve the report.

The top magistrate is accused of violating the Constitution, corruption, and other high crimes which are valid grounds for impeachment under the Constitution.

Aside from the impeachment, Solicitor General Jose Calida also filed a quo warranto case against Sereno, saying she should be ousted from office since her appointment is not valid due to noncompliance in the requirements when she applied for the position.