Justice De Castro calls out Chief Justice Sereno for discussing SolGen petition

This story was updated to include statements from CNN Philippines' one-on-one interview with Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 8) — Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno on Thursday crossed paths with one of her harshest critics in the Supreme Court, who gave her a scolding. 

Sereno and Associate Justice Teresita Leonardo-De Castro, President of the  Philippine Women Judges Association (PWJA), both spoke at a forum hosted by the orgaization. After Sereno gave her speech,  De Castro unexpectedly stood up, went to the podium, and took hold of the microphone.

"I'm sorry that the CJ (Chief Justice) has taken this opportunity to discuss a matter that is sub judice. We have given her all the courtesy and I sincerely hope that she should not have dealt with the matter which is pending with the court," she said.

Athough Sereno did not directly discuss the quo warranto case filed against her by Solicitor General Jose Calida before the Supreme Court, she accused her detractors of resorting to "gimmicks" to oust her.

"Indeed, any form to try me other than the constitutionally-exclusive form of impeachment is an admission by my complainant and other detractors that after 15 hearings, they have failed to come up with any evidence with which I can be convicted in the Senate," Sereno said.

She added, "Napakaaga naman yata para umamin sila na wala silang napala kundi matinding kabiguan. Kaya kung anu-ano na lamang ang gimik na ginagawa nila masunod lamang ang kanilang nais."

[Translation: It's too soon for them to accept defeat, which is why they are resorting to gimmicks to get what they need.]

Related: SolGen questions Sereno's qualifications as chief justice

Right after her speech, a visibly surprised Chief Justice briefly stopped walking towards the presidential table on the stage and looked at De Castro who had left her chair.

De Castro was supposed to hand over a token to Sereno but she refused to do it, prompting Associate Justice Estela Perlas-Bernabe to take over the task.

Speaking to CNN Philippines, Sereno said she was not surprised at De Castro's remark, saying everyone is entitled to an opinion.

"If that's her opinion, then that's her opinion. I leave it at that," Sereno said.

The Chief Justice also justified why she talked about the case.

"You have to respect a right of a person accused in a political arena to respond and speak, otherwise, anyone who's being impeached cannot speak and cannot explain to the public her position. I don't think that's right at all," she said.

De Castro in a hearing in the House of Representatives testified accused Sereno of violating Supreme Court procedures when she tampered with a temporary restraining order (TRO), among others.