Lagman wants to cross-examine SC associate justice De Castro
An opposition lawmaker has asked the House justice committee to allow him to cross-examine Supreme Court Associate Justice Teresita De Castro, should she appear as a witness in the impeachment hearing of Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.
In a hastily prepared letter sent by email to the committee chair Reynaldo Umali, Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman asked for the opportunity to ask questions to De Castro, who was invited by the committee to shed light on her complaints regarding some actions taken by Sereno.
“I write to earnestly request Your Honor to extend your liberality in allowing me to propound clarificatory or cross-examination questions to Supreme Court Associate Justice Teresita L. de Castro in the event she appears as a witness in the impeachment proceedings,” he wrote in the letter.
Lagman, along with other non-members, were barred from taking part in the impeachment hearings by a vote of 30-3 last Wednesday.
The committee invoked House rules stating that only members are allowed to join the discussion and to vote, although non-members may attend and listen in.
“Following the doctrine that every rule has an exception, I am making this urgent request as an exception to the ruling of the Chair and the Committee on Justice that non-members of the committee can attend but not participate in the proceedings,” Lagman said.
Umali said invitations were sent out by the committee on Thursday afternoon, including De Castro.
Sereno’s principal accuser, lawyer Lorenzo Gadon, had cited in his complaint an internal memorandum issued by De Castro questioning some of the actions the Chief Justice had taken without securing full-court approval.
Umali said there was “no indication yet” from De Castro’s end whether she would be coming or not to the hearing.
The justice panel will resume hearing the impeachment case against Sereno on Monday. /kga
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.