Sereno: Impeachment meant to make gov’t officials accountable
Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno said she was hoping that the impeachment case against her was not fuelled by “vengeance or personal agenda,” as she reminded those who wield power that the political exercise was meant to exact accountability from government officials.
“I hope everybody involved rises to the requirements of the Constitution that this (impeachment) should not be done for personal vengeance or for personal agenda, but this is only a mechanism for accountability,” Sereno said in an interview over ANC’s Headstart on Monday.
The impeachment process, she added, is designed to “preserve, not destroy democratic institutions.”
The chief magistrate was responding to a question on whether she believed that House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez had a hand in the impeachment complaint as a way of getting back at her over the case of the Philippine International Air Terminals Co. Inc. (PIATCO), builder of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport-Terminal 3 (NAIA 3).
“I testified against the onerous terms of the contract that was signed between the government and PairCargo (later named Piatco), and Speaker Alvarez at the time was part of the committee that approved the terms of reference for the contract,” Sereno said.
Alvarez, she said, was implicated for awarding the Naia 3 build-operate-transfer contract to Piatco when he was senior assistant general manager of Manila International Airport Administration (Miaa).
In 2001, a plunder case was filed against Alvarez and other officials by the Miaa-Naia Association of Service Contractors after he was accused of gaining from the contract.
“Speaker Alvarez had a lot to do with the result of that bidding, and one of the cases in fact that was filed against him was precisely for the conflict of interest situation that he finds himself in. A company that his wife owned was the subcontractor for the construction (of Naia-3),”Sereno said.
Asked if her testimony against Alvarez could be one of the reasons why he was pushing for her impeachment, Sereno said: “This is a matter that my lawyers are still considering.”
“Whether it should be raised, and at which point it should be raised, I will have to listen to the lawyers whether that will be brought up,” she added.
Inquirer.net is still trying to get Alvarez’ side as of posting. /cbb
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