(Supreme Court of the Philippines}

(Supreme Court of the Philippines}

MANILA (Mabuhay) — Contrary to a newspaper report, Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno was not hospitalized nor does she have any heart problems.

On Tuesday, Sereno’s chief of staff Ma. Lourdes Oliveros denied a Manila Times report claiming the chief justice had visited her cardiologist at St. Luke’s Medical Center in Global City in Fort Bonifacio during her wellness leave.

According to the report, Sereno was having stress-induced “palpitations,” aggravated by her alleged “run-ins” with SC Associate Justice Arturo Brion. The report claimed Brion had scolded the Chief Justice twice during en banc deliberations.

“Contrary to a false report, the CJ was not hospitalized and does not have heart problems. Such fabricated gossip has no place in professional journalism,” Oliveros told GMA News Online on Tuesday.

Oliveros clarified that justices would use their wellness leaves to undergo executive checkups. “That does not count as hospitalization unless you have a malicious mind,” she added.

To emphasize Sereno is in top shape, Oliveros noted that it was the first time the chief justice had availed of a wellness leave in the four years she has been with the Supreme Court.

Further, Oliveros said Sereno did not even exhaust her entire 15-day leave and reported back for work a day early from the annual wellness leave each justice is entitled.

Sereno is the second youngest and first female Philippine chief justice. Among the 15 magistrates, she is also the second youngest, next to Associate Justice Marvic Leonen. (MNS)