Solons berate Gadon: Put up or shut up
The accuser of Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno was told to put up or shut up during Tuesday’s impeachment hearing at the House of Representatives for spreading unsubstantiated talk about a P200-million payoff to senators to acquit Sereno should the case go to the Senate for trial.
Lawyer Lorenzo Gadon was also likened to the boy who cried wolf.
Gadon was threatened with contempt and asked to explain in writing within five days why he made statements “casting aspersions” on the integrity of members of the Senate, who would act as judges in an impeachment court, without presenting any proof.
“We could no longer countenance the acts of the complainant,” said Ako Bicol Rep. Alfredo Garbin Jr., who noted that if Gadon’s remarks were directed at a trial judge, his statement would be a sufficient ground for contempt.
“I advise Mr. Gadon to keep his mouth shut if he cannot verify his information,” Garbin said.
On Sunday, the impeachment complainant angered senators when he claimed that an “oligarch” was out to bribe them P200 million each in exchange for acquitting Sereno assuming the case went to trial.
The panel chair, Oriental Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo Umali, was initially dismissive of Garbin’s complaint, telling Gadon: “You will have your time in the Senate.”
“I am almost certain the senator-judges will call your attention and make you explain there. Assuming it reaches that point,” he said.
But Garbin insisted that Gadon take responsibility for his comments.
“If that statement is not supported and not verified, I ask for an apology from the complainant,” he said.
Antipolo Rep. Romeo Acop chimed in, saying he supported Garbin’s call.
“It casts aspersions on our independence … of the entire committee and the House of Representatives,” he said.
“I would like to remind you of the story, the ‘Boy who Cried Wolf.’ If you say more untruths, people will stop believing you. I think that’s the lesson we should learn from the story,” Acop said.
‘Where’s the money?’
Quezon City Rep. Vincent Crisologo said Gadon should answer the question: “Where is the money? Where is the source? I’d be the first one to cite him in contempt.”
Umali said the matter should not derail the discussion of the impeachment complaint and asked Gadon to explain his statements to the committee in writing within five days.
The lawyer, however, attempted to offer an explanation.
“I was interviewed by a radio commentator … It was a freewheeling discussion, where I gave the information that I was receiving many calls,” Gadon said.
“I said I myself do not believe the charge. I said I didn’t think the senators would allow themselves to be bribed … That’s why there is no contempt,” he said.
To which Crisologo said: “Please shut up your mouth.”
Gadon replied; “Yes, your honor, I submit.”
On Tuesday, the impeachment panel continued hearing witnesses against Sereno on allegations she caused an undue delay in the release of benefits for survivors of deceased judges and that she misdeclared her financial statements.
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