CJ Sereno living a ‘lavish’ lifestyle
Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno was first introduced to me when she was 12, roughly 40 years ago, through her eldest sister Marie. Her parents were educators and her siblings are all scholars in their field of studies and work. Her sister is a playwright who could easily win a Palanca or Pulitzer if her literary work is published, so on many occasions, we worked together staging plays her sister wrote. I lived 30 years in the States but now work as a missionary here in the Philippines. Two years ago, I had the chance to visit the home of Chief Justice Sereno.
It was quite astounding when I needed to take a tricycle to get to the Chief Justice’s home. I would not be so surprised if I was visiting the barrio captain’s or kagawad’s home by riding a tricycle, but the Chief Justice would probably reside in a place where tricycles are prohibited; it is not so.
It was early morning when I arrived at her house. Her sister Marie, who was visiting from the States, opened the door; I was expecting a security guard. I was looking forward to a cool, air-conditioned home from the relatively hot tricycle ride, but to my surprise, there was only an electric fan in her living room. As a writer, I noticed her wall décor was merely a copy of a painting by an obscure Filipino artist. I told myself, I must give her original paintings from my collection by an artist I know, next time I am invited.
Since they call me “Kuya Jerry” like one of her uncles, I was treated like family. They invited me to breakfast, so I thought they would be serving flashy dishes like those in fancy restaurants. I felt, she is so Filipino, serving fried rice and smoked bangus with eggplant, tomatoes and vinegar, plus left-over bistek from the previous night. There were bananas, melons and mangoes for dessert and a choice of coffee or tea on the side. Her dishes are not the usual Corelle plates my relatives love in the States, but old china perhaps from long ago.
Not that I am belittling the Chief Justice’s frugal lifestyle, nor am I criticizing in any way; after all, I am a long-time friend of the family and must appreciate whatever they could afford to welcome me as their guest at breakfast. I just cannot believe she is being accused of living a lavish lifestyle as though she has ill-gotten wealth plundered from our national treasury. The truth is, she lives within her means, living selflessly from hard-earned money derived from cases won, position papers written through the wee hours of the morning, grading essays as a law professor, before she became Chief Justice. As her former Sunday School teacher while she was growing up as a young believer, I have kept her accountable, guiding and praying for her many times each day as she assumes an extremely important role in our justice system. I am enraged that lawyer Larry Gadon even had the audacity to file a totally ludicrous impeachment complaint. He must know that none of his allegations are impeachable offenses.
The impeachment process will truly be a waste of time for our nation when our leaders should be focusing more on building our nation.
JERRY E. UY, firstname.lastname@example.org
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