MANILA -- Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno reiterated that she will not attend the impeachment proceedings in the House of Representatives.
This was bared by lawyer Carlo Cruz, one of Sereno’s spokespersons, in response to House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez's renewed call for the top magistrate to attend the hearing and give her side on the allegations raised by lawyer Larry Gadon in his impeachment complaint.
Alvarez said if Sereno has nothing to hide and is innocent of the allegations, she must appear before the hearing and answer the allegations.
Cruz said they believed the case against Sereno is weak and that there is no need for her to personally appear and refute Gadon’s accusations.
“There appears no real need for her to appear at this point because the evidence thus far presented has been wholly inadequate to establish any or enough impeachable offense to justify the filing of the articles of impeachment,” Cruz said.
But he said that Sereno appreciates Alvarez's assurance that she would be treated fairly if she appears before the impeachment hearing.
Sereno's camp earlier said the allegations against her were ‘guesswork based on newspaper reports” and ‘hearsay sources.”
The Chief Justice has a pending impeachment complaint in Congress for alleged culpable violation of the Constitution, corruption, other high crimes and betrayal of public trust.
The House Committee on Justice has voted to declare that there was sufficient ground to proceed with the impeachment proceedings filed by Gadon.
Gadon, in his impeachment complaint, alleged that Sereno failed to report or include in her SALN the earnings she made when she represented the Philippine International Airport Terminals Co. in the controversial case over the alleged irregularity in the construction of Terminal 3 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
Sereno is also accused of purchasing a brand-new 2017 Toyota Land Cruiser worth PHP5.1 million using public funds.
The impeachment hearing being conducted by the House Committee on Justice is expected to resume its hearing on January 15. (PNA)