SC officials testify vs Sereno in impeachment hearing
Three Supreme Court (SC) officials are set to testify at Tuesday’s resumption of the impeachment hearing against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno conducted by the House committee on justice.
Court Administrator Midas Marquez and Chief Judicial Staff Officer Charlotte Labayani appeared before the panel to explain issues related to allegations that Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno delayed the release of retirement benefits for justices and judges.
Meanwhile, House justice committee chairman Rep. Reynaldo Umali said Annaliza Capacite, executive officer of the Judicial and Bar Council, would arrive Tuesday afternoon to attend the hearing.
The House panel summoned Capacite to shed light on allegations that Sereno manipulated the JBC shortlist to exclude now SC Associate Justice Francis Jardeleza.
Deputy Clerk of Court En Banc Anna-li Gombio and Jocelyn Fabian, chairperson of SC’s special committee on retirement and civil service benefits were also invited to appear in the hearing but were not able to do so on Tuesday pending the permission of the SC en banc.
In the complaint filed by lawyer Lorenzo Gadon, it alleged that Sereno sat on the SC decision regarding the survivorship benefits.
Dolores Colayco, the widow of the late Court of Appeals Justice Jose Colayco, filed an application for her benefits before the high court in August 2016.
The SC en banc, clearing first the policy on granting applications on survivorship pension benefits, issued a decision in September 2017.
Mrs. Colayco died on October 3, seven days before the SC approved her application.
Sereno has earlier dismissed as “baseless and unfounded” this particular accusation of Gadon. Sereno said she has no power to “unilaterally delay” such approval. /kga
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