Del Castillo to attend Sereno hearing
Associate Justice Mariano del Castillo will be the fifth incumbent Supreme Court member to appear in the impeachment proceedings against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, House justice committee chair Rep. Reynaldo Umali said.
Umali said that Del Castillo’s intention to testify in the impeachment proceedings was conveyed to him by his committee secretariat. However, his attendance would likely be in January next year, as Congress was set to go on recess next week.
He said Del Castillo “may testify on the circumstances behind the Toyota Land Cruiser controversy and other allegations of corruption against the Chief Justice.”
Impeachment complainant Lorenzo Gadon accused Sereno of misusing public funds to acquire the P5-million vehicle he described as “luxurious” compared to the other magistrates’ vehicles. Gadon, a defeated senatorial candidate, also accused Sereno of staying in opulent hotels and flying on business class.
Del Castillo’s appearance would mean one-third of the 15-member chamber would attend the impeachment proceedings against Sereno as the House justice committee builds up a case to be tried in the Senate.
Associate Justice Teresita Leonardo-de Castro appeared on Nov. 29, when she backed Gadon’s allegations and accused Sereno of “undermining” the high court’s power and “setting aside” the members’ collective decisions.
She is scheduled to appear again today, along with Associate Justices Noel Tijam, Francis Jardeleza and Samuel Martires, as well as retired Associate Justice Arturo Brion.
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