SC justice Reyes admits Sereno made him cancel courtesy call with Duterte
Supreme Court (SC) Associate Justice Andres Reyes, Jr. admitted on Monday that Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno stopped him from paying a courtesy call on President Rodrigo Duterte.
Lawyer-complainant Lorenzo Gadon is accusing the top magistrate of culpable violation of the Constitution, betrayal of public trust, corruption and other high crimes. He also accused Sereno of preventing the Justices of the Court of Appeals (CA) to do a courtesy call on Duterte.
At the resumption of the probable cause hearings of the House of Representatives justice committee on the impeachment case against Sereno, Reyes, who was then presiding justice of CA, confirmed this.
“I remember right after the election of the President, two justices told me a lot are requesting for an audience with the President, [and] asked me if it was possible to go as a group. I said of course, let’s do it,” Reyes recalled.
Reyes said he prepared a letter and coordinated with the Office of the President.
He added that even though it is not required, he asked for Sereno’s permission and submitted their request letter to her office.
But he said the letter did not sit well with her.
“When I arrived at the office of the chief justice, she was not smiling at me. She said I don’t like your letter, she said your letter is insulting to me and the en banc; you make it appear that we are not doing anything at the SC, with a letter discussing our problems with the President, and that’s insulting to us,” Reyes told the panel.
The Associate Justice said he apologized, saying he did not mean to bypass the SC.
“Then she told me, ‘Si Presidente madaldal ‘yan, kung anu-ano sinasabi nyan, baka kung ano sabihin sa inyo hindi kayo makaimik (the President is talkative, he says a lot of things, he might tell you things and you won’t be able to say anything back),'” he said. “I apologized again, she said this might end your career.”
“I said, I don’t have a mean bone in my body, and she told me you better cancel that courtesy call to Malacañang and I cancelled my courtesy call,” he added.
Reyes, however, thought they should proceed with the scheduled courtesy call, but they limited their agenda to the presentation of their commemorative stamps and coins, adding that he decided not to personally attend the meeting.
When asked by Leyte 3rd District Rep. Vicente Veloso if he thinks the cancelled courtesy call could have been an opportunity to discuss the issues hounding the CA and the Sandiganbayan, Reyes answered, “It could be.” /je
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