CJ files motion to allow counsel to question resource persons
If a letter won’t suffice, then here’s a formal motion.
Lawyers of Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno filed on Monday a four-page motion asking the House justice committee to allow her counsel to cross examine “resource persons” to be presented at her impeachment hearing.
Sereno’s lawyers filed the motion after the House committee declined to rule on her requests to cross-examine the resource persons herself or by her own counsel because these were contained in letters, and not in the form of “motions”, dated Sept. 28 and Oct. 3.
“Considering the paramount importance of the issues raised therein, and to obviate objections of the Honorable Committee to the Chief Justice’s requests solely on the basis of form, the Chief Justice hereby adopts the contents of the letters dated 28 September 2017 and 3 October 2017, incorporates them by reference into this motion, and respectfully prays that this Honorable Committee rule thereon,” Sereno’s motion said, signed by her lawyers led by Alex Poblador.
Justice committee chairman, Mindoro Oriental Rep. Reynaldo Umali, earlier said they could not act on the Chief Justice’s earlier requests because they were not in a form of a motion.
Aside from asking the congressmen to allow Sereno’s lawyer to cross examine the “resource persons,” the motion also asked them to “confirm that the Chief Justice’s right through counsel to object to improper questions during the direct examination of complainant’s witnesses will be recognized.”
The motion also asked that Sereno be provided with “any evidence, testimonial, documentary, or object, which has been (or may be) submitted to the Honorable Committee in support of the charges against her,” as provided in the Rules of Criminal Procedure.
Sereno’s spokesperson, lawyer Josa Deinla, told reporters that asking the House Committee on Justice to allow the Chief Justice to choose her own counsel who will cross-examine resource persons at the impeachment hearing was part of the “due process of law.”
“Not one citizen can be denied the due process of law in the country because this is emphasized in our Constitution,” Deinla said.
Sereno could be removed from office after Umali’s committee found impeachment complaint filed by one Larry Gadon against the Chief Justice to be sufficient in form and substance.
Relatively unknown until he filed the Sereno impeachment complaint, Gadon has ties with former President now Pampanga Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr, son of the dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
Gadon accused Sereno of betrayal of public trust, corruption, and failing to be truthful in her Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Networth (SALN).
If the House plenary votes in favor of Sereno’s impeachment, it will be forwarded to the Senate which will hear the impeachment trial. /cbb
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