Carpio declines House invite to testify vs Sereno
Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio said he has no personal knowledge of the issues that the House committee on justice wanted to ask him regarding the impeachment complaint against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.
With this, the most senior Supreme Court associate justice has declined the invitation made by the House committee on justice to attend the congressional proceeding.
Carpio, through a letter last year, had asked the House committee on justice, through its Chairman Rep. Reynaldo Umali, what would be the possible questions that the committee intended to ask him. In that letter, Carpio did not signify if he will or will not attend the House hearing.
“I have written the committee declining to testify because I have no personal knowledge of the matters the committee mentioned in its reply to me. These are the matters the committee wants to question me,” Justice Carpio said Thursday.
The House Committee on Justice wants Carpio to testify on the allegation that the Chief Justice falsified the temporary restraining order of the Supreme Court in the case of Senior Citizens Party-list vs. the Commission on Elections. Carpio said “I wish to state I have no personal knowledge on this matter.”
In his letter to Umali, Carpio said he was on wellness leave on June 19, 2017, the day the request of the Department of Justice (DOJ) to transfer the Maute cases from Mindanao to Manila was raffled off to a justice. He added that he was also out of the country from June 19 to July 3, 2017.
The House Committee on Justice also wants Carpio to testify on the allegation that Sereno “lied and made it appear that several justices requested that they do away with the voting for the recommendees to the Supreme Court.
Carpio said “I have no personal knowledge of this matter. I wish to state that for years now my position has been that the Court do away with the voting since the Judicial and Bar Council is an independent constitutional body and in any event it has not been following the recommendations of the Court for several years in the past.”
Umali’s committee also want Carpio to shed light on the hiring of an IT consultant with excessive compensation without public bidding.
But Carpio said “I wish to state that I have no personal knowledge how such consultancy contract was procured. I came to know of such hiring only after the consultancy contract was questioned, long after it had been implemented and renewed. Besides, as of 10 January 2018, this matter is still under deliberation by the En Banc.”
On ‘all other allegations involving administrative matters and internal rules and procedures of the Supreme Court’ mentioned by Umali in his letter, Carpio said “unless the allegations are made specific, I will not be able to comment or testify on such other allegations.”/jpv
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