FACE-OFF. Four Supreme Court Associate Justices attend the House committee on justice's hearing on the impeachment complaint against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno on December 11, 2017. (From left to right: Associate Justices Noel Tijam, Arturo Brion (retired), Francis Jardeleza and Teresita Leonardo-De Castro.)

(PNA photo by Filane Mikee Z. Cervantes)

MANILA -- Four magistrates of the Supreme Court (SC) on Monday appeared at the House justice committee's hearing on the impeachment proceeding against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno. 

Associate Justices Francis Jardeleza, Noel Tijam, and retired Associate Justice Arturo Brion made their first appearance before the House justice panel. Associate Justice Teresita Leonardo-De Castro, on the other hand, made another appearance at the continuation of the proceeding. 

Oriental Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo Umali, committee chair, said Jardeleza would testify on the allegation that Sereno manipulated the selection process of the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) to block his appointment to the high court. 

Brion will testify his concurring opinion that “CJ Sereno manipulated the JBC process to exclude Jardeleza as a nominee.” 

Tijam, meanwhile, will testify about the allegation of foot-dragging of the SC in ordering the transfer of cases of Maute members from Cagayan de Oro to Metro Manila. 

De Castro has earlier testified before the impeachment committee, confirming that Sereno not only altered a temporary restraining order (TRO) on the partylist proclamation in 2013, but also created the Judicial Decentralized Office in Region 7, contrary to resolutions the high court had approved. 

Umali said the presence of the justices is a "manifestation of how constitutional processes should work and be observed." (PNA)