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Vilma Santos on Sereno-De Castro tension: ‘Ang bigat ng loob ko’


Lipa, Batangas Representative Vilma Santos-Recto explained what she felt at a Manila Hotel event where Supreme Court Associate Justice Teresita de Castro openly called out Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno for talking about her looming impeachment trial in her speech.

Recto was invited to talk at the Philippine Women Judges Association convention on Thursday, where she was assigned to a seat between the two Supreme Court justices.

It was Recto's turn to speak at the podium just after De Castro called out Sereno, saying that she is bringing up a matter that is "sub judice" or under judicial consideration.

"Hhayy salamat. Nadinig ko naman kayong tumawa. Kanina pa po ang bigat-bigat ng loob ko... Pero bakit ang bigat ng loob ko? Puwede po ba kuwentuhan na lang tayo?" Recto said at the start of her opening speech.

In a "Dobol B sa News TV" interview on Friday, Recto said she already felt an initial tension as she sat between Sereno and De Castro.

"Unang-una pagdating ko na-tension na ako eh, kasi imagine, 'Your Honors' lahat ang kaharap ko du'n. Kaya nga sabi ko 'Aba teka, iba na yata level ko... ang kaharap ko lahat, puro Your Honors kasi mga justices ng Supreme Court katabi ko pa, so tension na ako pagdating ko."

Recto said she had no problem with Sereno's speech until De Castro gave her remarks.

"I was just listening. Sabi ko 'Oh my God.' Pag-upo niya (De Castro), ako na 'yung susunod, sana nga hindi na ako 'yung kasunod. Pag-upo nga, kinausap din ako ni Chief Justice, sabi niya, 'Look, look ate Vi what's happening.' Lalo akong natensyon."

The congresswoman explained she was lost for words when it was her turn to speak.

"When I was looking at the crowd, 'yung ating mga ginagalang na judges, parang biglang tahimik na nag-uusap-usap, because of what happened. Kaya nu'ng pagdating ko sa podium, hindi ko na alam ang sasabihin ko kaya sinabi ko na lang 'Ang bigat bigat ng loob ko.' Sinasabi ko lang 'yung totoong nararamdaman ko."

On easing the tension at the event, Recto said: "Hindi ko intensyon 'yon. It's just binanggit ko lang kung ano 'yung nararamdaman ko du'n sa audience. Hindi ko intensyon talaga na, 'Ah sige I'll try to ease the tension,' wala sa intention ko. It's just, sinabi ko lang kung ano 'yung nararamdaman ko na ang bigat ng pakiramdam ko po, na nag-agree naman 'yung mga ginagalang nating judges."

"Kaya ang sabi ko na lang po, 'Magkuwentuhan na lang po tayo.' And then sabi ko nga po 'Baka we can make the ambiance and environment much lighter. So let's just all be fabulous' kasi 'yun ang theme nila eh," she added.

After the event, Recto and Sereno bid goodbye to each other, where she said to the Chief Justice, "I know na dumadaan ka sa pagsubok, so I will just pray for you."

Regarding the House Committee on Justice's vote finding probable cause in the impeachment complaint against Sereno, Recto said she will wait for the results of the House committee on justice's March 14 meeting.

"This is a very sensitive issue. Hindi puwede dito 'yung sasabihin mo lang na kailangang bumoto ng 'Yes' or 'No.' No. Kailangan mabasa mo ano ba talaga 'yung mga dapat pag-usapan, may probable cause ba talaga. Ito ba'y pang-administratibo lang ang issue or talagang puwedeng i-issue for impeachment. These are the things na kailangan muna nating malaman." —LBG, GMA News

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