SOURCE: Press and Public Affairs Bureau
Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez today said the hearings of the House Committee on Justice on the impeachment complaints against Supreme Court Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno had slowly unraveled the flaws of her defense, which consisted of bare denials of the allegations against her.
“Yung mga denials nung naaakusahan, nung ini-impeach ay dahan-dahan nakikita din natin na wala ding basehan yung kanyang denials,” Alvarez said in a press briefing.
Alvarez said the documentary evidence and the testimonies of resource persons invited to impeachment proceedings would pose a problem for Sereno unless she appears before the committee to air her side and refute the charges against her.
“Problemang malaki yan dahil based on rules kapag hindi siya nagpakita dito ay lahat po nung kanyang sinubmit na denials will be treated as a mere scrap of paper. Kasi hindi niya po sinumpaan yan dito sa committee and hindi rin siya na subject sa cross examination,” Alvarez said.
Earlier, Alvarez said the House would respect Sereno’s right and would not force her to attend the impeachment proceedings of the Committee on Justice.
Alvarez said he did not mind if the committee would have to extend its hearings on the impeachment charges filed against Sereno by lawyer Lorenzo Gadon. He said that the hearing had been getting evidence in support of the allegations against the Chief Justice.
“Sinabi ko kasi sa kanila huwag nilang madaliin. Kasi nga nakikita niyo naman ano na yung mga hearings na kinonduct natin may mga nagtestify, may mga naglabas ng dokumento. So, slowly talagang napo-prove nila yung mga allegations. Nagkakaroon ngayon ng matibay na basehan,” Alvarez said.
What is important to him, according to Alvarez, is that the committee should be standing on firm ground if it decides to report out a finding endorsing the impeachment of Sereno and submit the required Articles of Impeachment.
“Kaya sabi ko ituloy niyo yung hearing na yan, so hopefully lahat nung mga allegations yun ay mae-strengthen ng mga testimonies at additional documents para naman pag ni-report out ng committee yan at nag-prepare ng articles of impeachment ay talagang matibay na matibay yun-we are standing on solid ground,” said Alvarez.
In the previous hearings, Associate Justice Teresita Leonardo De Castro testified that Sereno unilaterally altered a Temporary Restraining Order and issued one that is contrary to the recommendation of the assigned justice.
On Tuesday, Court Administrator Midas Marquez said Sereno’s creation of a committee and two technical working groups resulted in the delays in the release of benefits for surviving spouse of deceased judges by as much as two years.
Meanwhile, Alvarez said members of the House of Representatives who issued statements that cast aspersions on the integrity of the impeachment proceedings should be haled to the Ethics Committee to face possible disciplinary sanctions.
Earlier, Leyte Rep. Vicente Veloso urged the House leadership to look into the statement of a fellow solon who allegedly characterized the impeachment hearings a “f**ked up” proceedings.
Leyte Rep. Vicente Veloso on Tuesday urged the House leadership to “take a serious look” into the statement of a fellow lawmaker who called the impeachment hearings against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno a “f**ked up” proceeding.
Reports said Akbayan Rep. Tom Villarin had issued a statement saying the proceedings is a ”charade heading nowhere but to a ‘monumental f**k up’ that the House should immediately dismiss.”
”Kailangang dalhin sa Ethics Committee yun kasi hindi tama yun,” said Alvarez.
He said the Committee on Rules, to which the matter was referred to by the Justice Committee, could now take cognizance of the matter.
Alvarez stressed that the House impeachment proceedings against Sereno had nothing except the pursuit of truth as its objective.
“Let’s be objective about this. Kasi tayo naman, nakita natin yung Committee on Justice ay talagang sinisikap nila na lumabas yung katotohanan. Wala tayong ibang tinitingnan dito kundi yung katotohanan lamang,” Alvarez said.