High court re­leases more do­cus vs Sereno

Manila Times - - FRONT PAGE - JOMAR CANLAS

THE Supreme Court has given its nod to the re­lease of more doc­u­ments in con­nec­tion with the im­peach­ment com­plaint against Chief Jus­tice Maria Lour­des Sereno, the lat­est of which is her per­sonal data sheet (PDS) and those of her staff.

Dur­ing de­lib­er­a­tions of the full court or the en­banc on Septem­ber 5, 14 jus­tices agreed to re­lease the PDS of Sereno when she ap­plied for the high court on 2010 and when she ap­plied for chief jus­tice on 2012.

Mag­is­trates also or­dered the re­lease of the PDS of Brenda Jay An­ge­les-Men­doza whose ap­point­ment as Philip­pine Ju­di­cial Acad for the Philip­pine Me­di­a­tion Cen­ter Of­fice ( PMCO) was ques­tioned by Jus­tice Tere­sita Leonardo-de Cas­tro.

De Cas­tro ear­lier asked the en­banc to “re­voke” and “re­call” the ap­point­ment of Men­doza to the po­si­tion,

which is equiv­a­lent to a Court of Ap­peals jus­tice, as it was made with­out the ap­proval of the full court.

De Cas­tro pointed out that Men with­out a PHILJA Board of Trustees Res­o­lu­tion and with Court en banc ap­proval,” as re­quired by the tri­bunal’s rules.

On Wed­nes­day, the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives’ Com­mit­tee on Jus­tice up­held one of two im­peach­ment com­plaints against Sereno as suf

The ap­proved com­plaint, filed by lawyer Lorenzo Gadon, ac­cuses Sereno of:

- sti­tu­tion for fal­si­fy­ing var­i­ous doc­u­ments, mis­declar­ing her state­ment of as­sets and li­a­bil­i­ties and ma­nip­u­lat- ing the screen­ing of ju­di­ciary ap­pli­cants at the Ju­di­cial and Bar Coun­cil;

in posh ho­tels over­seas and pur­chas­ing an ex­pen­sive SUV as her ser­vice ve­hi­cle;

jus­tice by in­struct­ing a Muntinlupa court not to is­sue a war­rant of ar­rest against Sen. Leila de Lima on drug charges, fail­ing to pay taxes on at­tor­ney’s fees and em­bel­lish­ing her cre­den­tials; and

- voritism and acts usurp­ing pow­ers re­served to the en­banc or the full Supreme Court, such the ap­point­ment of court per­son­nel and al­low­ing new staff to travel abroad.

Gadon sought the re­lease of 20 doc­u­ments from the court. The Supreme Court has al­lowed the re­lease of Sereno’s state­ments of as­sets li­a­bil­i­ties and net worth and doc­u­ments on her for­eign and do­mes­tic trav­els as well as her bul­let­proof lux­ury ser­vice ve­hi­cle.

Of­fi­cial trans­mit­tal

On Fri­day, Sereno’s spokesman, lawyer Carlo Cruz, said the im­peach 10 days to re­ply.

“In her an­swer, she will ex­plain why the com­plaint must fail. Chief Jus­tice Sereno has al­ways been a staunch de­fender of the Ju­di­ciary and our democ­racy, and has al­ways ex­er­cised ut­most com­pe­tence, in­tegrity, pro­bity, and and in the per­for­mance of her func­tions,” Cruz said in a state­ment.

“The pub­lic may rest as­sured that the Chief Jus­tice re­mains com­mit­ted to her du­ties at the Supreme Court, and con­tin­ues to pur­sue the ju­di­cial re­form agenda even as the im­peach­ment process un­folds,” he added.

Cruz told TheMani­laTimes - peach­ment com­plaint against her was not just be­cause she wanted to cling to her post.

“She needs to face th­ese charges for the sake of the in­de­pen­dence of the ju­di­ciary and of her and her fam­ily’s rep­u­ta­tion,” he said.

Aguirre to tes­tify

Jus­tice Sec­re­tary Vi­tal­iano Aguirre 2nd said he was will­ing to tes­tify, if sub­poe­naed, in the Sereno im­peach­ment trial in re­la­tion to Gadon’s al­le­ga­tion that the chief jus­tice “ma­nip­u­lated and there­fore de­layed the res­o­lu­tion of A.M. No 1706-02-SC (the re­quest of the Sec­re­tary of Jus­tice to trans­fer the Maute cases out­side of Min­danao) af­ter re­al­iz­ing that she lost in the vot­ing.”

“If there was a de­lay be­cause my granted, in­stead of be­ing granted the cases were be­ing trans­ferred to Ili­gan and Ca­gayan de Oro...I will tes­tify only as to what hap­pened there,” Aguirre said.

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