Impeachment hearing ‘violated Sereno’s rights’
The camp of Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno on Monday again blasted Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez for claiming that she had spurned the invitation for her to take part in the impeachment hearings against her in the House of Representatives.
Lawyer Jojo Lacanilao, a spokesperson for Sereno, said in a statement that the Chief Justice had agreed to participate in the impeachment hearing of the House justice committee by sending her counsels, a right guaranteed by the 1987 Constitution.
“(B)ut the committee did not allow her to be represented by her counsels of choice and to cross examine the complainant and the witnesses through her lawyers,” Lacanilao said.
“While the Chief Justice respected the process, the committee ignored its own rules and violated her constitutionally guaranteed rights,” he said.
Lacanilao said Sereno’s camp was also expecting that the “vilification campaign” against Sereno would worsen in the coming days, in time for the resumption of the House impeachment hearing on Jan. 15.
“We expect her detractors to intensify their smear campaign against the Chief Justice to cover up the fatally defective impeachment case,” he said.
“It is our position that if there is a strong case against the Chief Justice, it should have long been elevated to the Senate for trial,” he added.
Sereno’s spokesperson also maintained that the testimonies of her colleagues — Associate Justices Teresita Leonardo-de Castro, Francis Jardeleza and Noel Tijam — failed to support the allegations contained in the impeachment complaint filed by lawyer Lorenzo Gadon.
Gadon had accused Sereno of committing 27 impeachable offenses, including her supposed failure to declare her true wealth in her statement of assets, liabilities and net worth, and arbitrary issuance of orders without the consent of fellow Supreme Court magistrates.
“Not even the testimonies of the justices, which pertain to differences in opinion with respect to internal processes of the Supreme Court, were enough to prove that the Chief Justice committed an impeachable offense that would warrant her removal from office,” Lacanilao said.
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