CHIEF Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno rallied a crowd of young law students, lawyers and judges during a talk on judicial reform Friday morning at the University of Baguio.
The embattled Chief Justice called for vigilance and a concerted effort to tell the truth which she described to be blurring in the time of fake news.
Sereno in a message to sectors calling for her resignation said "to those who have asked me to resign, I will not. I do not owe anyone the duty to resign. I owe the people the duty to tell my story."
The chief magistrate’s decision to take an indefinite leave was a consensus of all the justices present during the en banc session last Tuesday.
READ: SC clarifies: Sereno took indefinite leave after en banc consensus
Sereno, who was appointed by former President Benigno Simeon Aquino III in 2012, has 12 more years left in her term.
"I make a special appeal to please not to fall prey to a dimming of history."
Sereno in her speech asked the audience to shun historical revisionism and remember the heroism of Filipino forefathers.
The chief justice also allowed the crowd to shoot questions ranging from her indefinite leave and anticipated trial.
"Bilisan na po natin...simulan na natin,” Sereno said.
Sereno advised law students to persevere and use the truth as their ally.
"Gamitin niyo ang facts, get references, magsipag sipag kayo. Kung alam niyo ang totoo, yun ang panindigan niyo," said Sereno.
The SC en banc arrived at a consensus during their session February 27, for her to take an indefinite leave due to "several reasons."
The en banc decision was made public following a statement from Sereno’s spokesperson Jojo Lacanilao that she was taking her scheduled wellness leave in preparation for her impeachment trial.
The SC en banc said Sereno is on “indefinite leave” and that she “did not request for the rescheduling of her wellness leave.
The chief justice for her part issued an apology for the confusion.
She also qualified her leave citing the provisions of Rule 7, Section 6 (c) of the Internal Rules of the Supreme Court as the rules do not contain any provision on indefinite leave.
The said provision states that: "members who are on wellness leave or who are on vacation or sick leave, for at least 15 continuous calendar days shall be exempt from raffle."
Sereno said that although she agreed to go on an indefinite leave, she confirmed that she had requested the Supreme Court to reschedule her wellness leave to study the Rules of Court. (with a report from SunStar Philippines)