Sereno camp on reporter’s testimony at impeach hearing: Still a hearsay
The camp of Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno maintained that allegations that the chief magistrate manipulated a court document remains a “hearsay” whether newspaper reporter Jomar Canlas stands by his story about the issue or not.
“The newspaper article, ‘Justice blasts Sereno over TRO mess’, is hearsay. It doesn’t matter whether Canlas ‘stands by’ his source/story or not,” Sereno’s camp asserted in a statement e-mailed to the media.
“It doesn’t change the fact that it was Canlas’ source, and not Canlas himself, who was present during the internal deliberations relating to the temporary restraining order issue,” they said.
One of the bases in the impeachment complaint against Sereno was her alleged falsification of the draft temporary restraining order (TRO) for the Coalition of Associations of Senior Citizens against the Commission on Elections. Associate Justice Teresita de Castro was the ponente of the TRO in 2013.
During the House hearing on Sereno’s impeachment on Monday, Canlas refused to reveal his source for his news article, invoking the Shield or Sotto Law.
Canlas, nevertheless, maintained the veracity of the story, adding that he had a copy of the document which could prove that Sereno “deviated from the normal procedure” of handling the TRO.
The article, which Canlas wrote in June 2013, claimed Sereno “endured a harsh tongue-lashing” from De Castro over the supposed tampering of the court document by the chief justice, citing a highly-reliable court insider.
But Canlas denied that De Castro was his source, contrary to complainant Lorenzo Gadon’s earlier claim.
Canlas wrote that De Castro “slammed Sereno for being tardy and for not coordinating her actions with her.”
The article read: “’The problem with you was you reported late. You arrived at 3 p.m. kaya hindi mo naaktuhan ang recommendation ko’, a highly-reliable source quoted De Castro as telling the Chief Magistrate during the closed door en banc deliberations.”
Before the said article, The Manila Times also reported that Sereno “admitted that she tinkered with de Castro’s draft ruling” also citing sources.
Canlas said he has a copy of Sereno’s letter to De Castro “where the chief magistrate admitted that she deliberately changed the recommendation made by the latter who was the designated ponente of the TRO.” /kga
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