House panel OK’s im­peach­ment com­plaint vs Sereno

Business World - - THE NATION - By Lira Dalan­gin-Fer­nan­dez In­ter­aksyon

THE FIRST im­peach­ment com­plaint against Chief Justice Maria Lour­des P.A. Sereno, filed by lawyer Larry Gadon, was de­clared suf­fi­cient in form and in sub­stance by the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives’ com­mit­tee on justice de­spite ob­jec­tions that it was de­fec­tive and did not present clear ev­i­dence of be­ing im­peach­able of­fenses.

The sep­a­rate votes Wed­nes­day morn­ing, Sept. 13, on the Gadon com­plaint’s form and sub­stance yielded the same re­sults, 30-4.

The com­mit­tee is still de­bat­ing the com­plaint filed by the Vol­un­teers Against Crime and Cor­rup­tion.

Mr. Gadon’s com­plaint ac­cuses Ms. Sereno of be­trayal of pub­lic trust, cul­pa­ble vi­o­la­tion of the Con­sti­tu­tion, cor­rup­tion and other high crimes.

Law­mak­ers who said the com­plaint was de­fec­tive — Al­bay Rep. Ed­cel Lag­man, Di­na­gat Is­land Rep. Kaka Bag-ao, Bayan Muna Rep. Car­los Zarate and Ak­bayan Rep. Tom Vil­larin — said Mr. Gadon did not have per­sonal knowl­edge on some of the al­le­ga­tions he put for­ward. They also said there was no clear ev­i­dence on how the acts cited in the com­plaint could con­sti­tute im­peach­able of­fenses.

But Ori­en­tal Min­doro Rep. Rey­naldo Umali, the chair­per­son of the House justice com­mit­tee that con­ducted the hear­ing, in­sisted Mr. Gadon “did his home­work” and ob­tained au­then­tic records and cer­ti­fied true copies of the records from the Supreme Court.

In a state­ment, lawyer Carlo L. Cruz, Ms. Sereno’s newly ap­pointed spokesman for her im­peach­ment de­fense, main­tained that the com­plaints against her were “de­signed to max­i­mize the po­lit­i­cal spec­ta­cle, with the goal of erod­ing her cred­i­bil­ity through in­nu­endo and ma­li­cious al­le­ga­tions.”

“This is detri­men­tal to the in­de­pen­dence of the Ju­di­ciary upon whom all cit­i­zens rely to de­fend their rights and to check any abuse,” said Mr. Cruz, an alum­nus of Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo R. Duterte’s alma mater, the San Beda Col­lege of Law.

He added that Ms. Sereno “awaits the trans­mis­sion of the com­plaints through of­fi­cial chan­nels” and “will avail her­self of ap­pro­pri­ate le­gal reme­dies, with the hope that the mech­a­nisms of our demo­cratic sys­tem will af­ford her a fair, trans­par­ent and just op­por­tu­nity to be heard.”

In the mean­time, he said, “the Chief Justice con­tin­ues to dis­charge her du­ties with fair­ness, in­tegrity and hu­mil­ity.

The Gadon com­plaint al­leges the fol­low­ing:

Acts con­sti­tut­ing cul­pa­ble vi­o­la­tion of Con­sti­tu­tion:

• She fal­si­fied the Res­o­lu­tion of the Supreme Court in A.M. No. 12-11-9- SC.

• She fal­si­fied the Tem­po­rary Re­strain­ing Or­der of the Supreme Court in G.R. Nos. 206844-45.

• She fal­si­fied the Res­o­lu­tion of the Supreme Court in A.M. No. 16-08-04- SC.

• She de­layed ac­tion o the nu­mer­ous Pe­ti­tions for Re­tire­ment Ben­e­fits of Jus­tices and Judges, and the sur­viv­ing spouses of de­ceased Jus­tices and Judges.

• She ma­nip­u­lated and there­after de­layed the res­o­lu­tion of A.M. No. 17-06-02- SC (the re­quest of the Sec­re­tary of Justice to trans­fer the Maute cases out­side of Min­danao) af­ter re­al­iz­ing that she lost in the vot­ing.

• She failed to truth­fully dis­close her State­ment of As­sets, Li­a­bil­i­ties, and Net Worth or SALN.

• She ma­nip­u­lated the short list of the Ju­di­cial and Bar Coun­cil (JBC) to ex­clude then So­lic­i­tor Gen­eral Fran­cis H. Jardeleza, for per­sonal and po­lit­i­cal rea­sons, thereby dis­grac­ing then Sol. Gen. Jardeleza, and cur­tail­ing the Pres­i­dent’s power to ap­point him.

• She ma­nip­u­lated the short list of the JBC for the six (6) va­can­cies in the Sandi­gan­bayan, for per­sonal and po­lit­i­cal rea­sons, thereby lim­it­ing the Pres­i­dent’s power to ap­point the Jus­tices of the Sandi­gan­bayan.

• She ma­nip­u­lated the short list of the JBC for the two (2) va­can­cies in the Supreme Court, and failed to heed the pro­nounce­ments of the Court in Aguinaldo v. Aquino, thereby im­pair­ing and cur­tail­ing the Pres­i­dent’s power to ap­point the Jus­tices of the Supreme Court.

• She lied and made it ap­pear that “sev­eral jus­tices” re­quested that they do away with vot­ing for rec­om­mendees to the Supreme Court, when in fact not one Justice re­quested for it.

• She ma­nip­u­lated the JBC, es­pe­cially its four ( 4) reg­u­lar mem­bers, ef­fec­tively de­stroy­ing the JBC as a con­sti­tu­tional body man­dated to fairly and im­par­tially screen and nom­i­nate ap­pli­cants to the Ju­di­ciary. Acts con­sti­tut­ing cor­rup­tion: • She used pub­lic funds to fi­nance her ex­trav­a­gant and lav­ish life­style by or­der­ing the pur­chase of a brand-new lux­u­ri­ous Toy­ota Land Cruiser 2017 model as her per­sonal ve­hi­cle, amount­ing to more than five mil­lion pesos.

• She used pub­lic funds to stay in op­u­lent ho­tels when at­tend­ing con­fer­ences in the Philip­pines and abroad, and fly­ing on busi­ness or first class to­gether with her staff and se­cu­rity.

• She used pub­lic funds to flaunt her ex­trav­a­gance by un­nec­es­sar­ily bring­ing a huge en­tourage of lawyers in her sup­posed of­fi­cial for­eign trips.

Acts con­sti­tut­ing other high crimes:

• She ob­structed justice by or­der­ing the Muntinlupa Judges not to is­sue war­rants of ar­rest against Sen­a­tor Leila M. de Lima.

• She per­verted justice by meet­ing the Pre­sid­ing Justice and As­so­ciate Jus­tices of the Court of Ap­peals and in­struct­ing them not to com­ply with the pro­cesses of the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives and to im­me­di­ately ques­tion its pro­cesses be­fore the Supreme Court.

• She failed to re­port her ex­tor­tion­ate at­tor­ney’s fees and pay the ap­pro­pri­ate taxes there­for.

• She em­bel­lished her Per­sonal Data Sheet (PDS) in her ap­pli­ca­tion for the Ju­di­ciary to over­state her cre­den­tials.

Acts con­sti­tut­ing be­trayal of pub­lic trust:

• She hired an In­for­ma­tion Technology con­sul­tant with an ex­ces­sive com­pen­sa­tion with­out pub­lic bid­ding, in con­tra­ven­tion of ex­ist­ing laws, Com­mis­sion on Au­dit (CoA) rules, and pub­lic pol­icy.

• She sent a strongly-worded but mis­placed re­ply to Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Roa Duterte on the Judges linked to drugs thereby invit­ing a head-on col­li­sion be­tween the Pres­i­dency and the Ju­di­ciary.

• She pre­vented the Jus­tices of the Court of Ap­peals to do a cour­tesy call on Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Roa Duterte.

• She at­tacked the im­po­si­tion of Mar­tial Law in a com­mence­ment ad­dress, while the va­lid­ity of Mar­tial Law was still pend­ing be­fore the Supreme Court, and later con­tin­ued to par­tic­i­pate in the Court’s de­lib­er­a­tions.

• She is­sued a Joint State­ment with the Pre­sid­ing Justice of the Court of Ap­peals re­gard­ing CA- GR SP No. 151029, which can very well be el­e­vated to the Supreme Court.

• She prac­ticed fa­voritism by al­low­ing key po­si­tions in the Supreme Court to re­main un­filled for a long pe­riod of time in or­der to wait for her staff to qual­ify, to the detri­ment of the ser­vice and great de­mor­al­iza­tion of qual­i­fied Court em­ploy­ees.

• She ap­pointed a key of­fi­cial with­out author­ity or ap­proval of the Court en banc, in vi­o­la­tion of Court-es­tab­lished rules and the Con­sti­tu­tion.

• She gave her newly- hired staff for­eign trav­els and granted them travel al­lowances for their for­eign trav­els with­out author­ity or ap­proval of the Court en banc, in vi­o­la­tion of Court-es­tab­lished rules and the Con­sti­tu­tion.

• She usurped the man­date of the Court en banc by ar­ro­gat­ing to her­self alone the run­ning of the Supreme Court and the Ju­di­ciary, thereby de­stroy­ing the Supreme Court as a col­le­gial body.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Philippines

© PressReader. All rights reserved.