Sereno: Find judiciary's own 'Mrs. Napoles'
MANILA - Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno has urged whistleblowers to pinpoint cases of corruption in the judiciary amid talks of the presence of a fixer tagged only as “Ma’am Arlene”.
“I assure you that if the cases filed are serious and supported by evidence, the justices of the Supreme Court will see to it that the axe will fall on whoever deserves it, even if it falls close to us,” Sereno said during her recent speech before the Philippine Bar Association (PBA).
Columnist Jarius Bondoc, in his opinion piece in the Philippine Star on Monday, said the judiciary has its own version of businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles.
The person, known only as “Ma’am Arlene”, supposedly “throws birthday bashes for Appellate Court justices and trial court judges, and bankrolls their family junkets abroad. She is the magistrates’ go-to girl if they need to give an offspring an expensive graduation or wedding gift. She makes them dependent on her, for a reason.”
Citing sources, the columnist said the fixer’s connections extend also to the Department of Justice and Office of the Ombudsman.
Sereno earlier said she will act against “hoodlums in robes.”
She said her office has received “dozens of letters accusing this or that judge of corruption and bias as shown by his supposed unjust decisions or rulings.”
She was not clear, however, on whether this “Ma’am Arlene” was involved.
“It is seldom that a lawyer comes up to the Supreme Court, armed with evidence to kick these culprits out of the bench and bar,” she said.
“I think you can be more successful in identifying and gathering evidence against scalawags in purple robes and the unscrupulous members of our profession,” she asked the lawyers.