By: Elena Grace Flores
Associate Justice Teresita Leonardo-de Castro’s earlier testimony is supported by two other justices. She calls on the attention of the chief justice ever since. They claim that after 5 years, Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno still fails to ask the en banc. De Castro even asked; Until when will we suffer? As she implies on Sereno’s dictatorship at the SC. Bongbong Marcos, on the other hand, said that Sereno’s plight must not affect the recount for his election protest in February 2018 against Leni Robredo. Their proceeding is under the Tribunal. It might be favorable not to have an anti-Marcos as Chief Justice in a long run but for now, he can only see further delay in the ruling if she is impeached.
[VIDEO]: Four justices of the Supreme Court – 3 incumbent and one retired – stand as witnesses in the impeachment case filed against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.
Justices Criticize Sereno’s Dictatorship
Several associate justices of the Supreme Court openly criticize Chief Justice Sereno for mistakes she apparently makes during her 5-year term. “I believe that the actions of the chief justice from the time that she assumed her position showed no respect or courtesy to the court en banc,” said Associate De Castro. The House committee on justice continues to hear the impeachment case against Sereno.
Disregarding the En Banc
“I do not disagree with the characterizations made by Deputy Speaker Hernandez,” said Associate Justice Francis Jardeleza. He refers to South Cotabato 2nd District Representative Ferdinand Hernandez. Hernandez asks the SC justices if they are insulted by Sereno’s apparent habit of making decisions on her own. This is without consulting the en banc which refers to all 15 justices of the Supreme Court, including Sereno.
Advice to the Supreme Court CJ
“We are a very small group in the Supreme Court. I would tell her, don’t go that route. You are getting what you want through these devious means that are not right,” added retired associate justice, Arturo Brion. The House committee deliberates over 7 hearing days a complaint filed by lawyer Larry Gadon against Sereno. Among his allegations is that Sereno curtailed the power of the Supreme Court en banc, a collegial body, by making decisions on her own.
Complaints that Led the Impeachment Case
Aside from Sereno’s alleged dictatorship, the establishment of the Regional Court Administrator’s Office (RCAO) in Region VII is also under scrutiny. These are on top of t the issuance of a temporary restraining order in the proclamation of party-list group winners and the transfer of the Maute cases from Marawi City to Taguig City. The committee is set to vote by January 2018 – whether to accept or reject it.
Bongbong Marcos explains that no other election protests at the Presidential level have reached the full payment stage, unlike his protest. In short, it’s the only protest that is not abandoned despite the delay due to the Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno’s impeachment. Recently, SC Associate Justice Teresita de Castro testifies that Sereno issued an administrative order in 2012 that contradicted a resolution of the en banc on the opening of a regional court administrative office. Sereno’s Camp denies this. Its statement said that the SC en banc approved the creation of Regional Court Administrative Office (RCAO) in Region 7.
[VIDEO]: Bongbong Marcos nagsalita na sa Impeachment ni CJ Sereno
Former President Benigno Aquino III appointed Sereno despite being the most junior among those were shortlisted to replace the late Chief Justice Renato Corona. This is after what was dubbed allegedly as Corona’s unfair trial at the Senate.
De Castro stresses that she was not emotional when she discloses Sereno’s questionable decisions to the panel. She cannot question the ex-President’s appointment of Sereno. However, she cannot stand idly when there’s no more collective power in the Supreme Court. Particularly when the en back decisions are set aside.
Advice to the Panel
The Associate Justice suggests to the panel to look at the evidence available to determine if there’s substance or basis in her testimony. She is not a Justice for nothing after 20 years if they think that she is just emotional.
VP Election Recount
Marcos insists that Sereno’s plight must not affect the recount for his election protest against Leni Robredo. Their proceeding is under the Tribunal. He, However, can see further delay if the CJ is impeached. That could lead to a slow ruling. Robredo’s Lawyer, Romulo Macalintal got it all wrong again that no protests in the country yet has progressed. In fact, his client’s counter-protest is for dismissal due to the non-payment of their balance.
Lawyer Lorenzo “Larry” Gadon recently said that Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno could not bring before the SC the decision of lawmakers. He insists that only she could cross-examine witnesses during the proceedings. Gadon filed the impeachment complaints against Sereno. He publicly admits that he wants to “avenge” former president and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Arroyo and the late Chief Justice Renato Corona. In addition, he also wants to make sure that the Vice Presidency goes to Bongbong Marcos.
[VIDEO]: Justices De Castro, Jardeleza to testify against Sereno – Atty. Gadon
Appeal for the Supreme Court CJ to Resign
Gadon earlier stresses that Sereno should resign to keep the integrity of the body that she is serving. He warns that the Congress Impeachment hearings are brutal. However, the CJ responded that to resign is nor even an option for her. This is allegedly so because she is certain that the case has no legal basis.
The Right to Counsel
Lawyer Jojo Lacanilao, a spokesperson for Sereno, said that the Constitution provides that the Chief Justice “be accorded the right to counsel and the right to cross-examine the complainant and the witnesses through her lawyers. These are the same rights that are guaranteed to every citizen of this country to ensure due process.” Gadon is told to review his law on this matter.
Sereno’s Camp Takes the Case as a Political Process
This political process involved a judicial character the same as that of a criminal prosecution,” Lacanilao said. The House Committee on Justice formally invited Sereno to the next impeachment hearing on Nov. 22. She insinuates that her lawyers will represent her.
Gadon wants the ones who benefit from the misfortunes of ex-President Arroyo and the late former CJ Corona, like Supreme Court Chief Justice Sereno, to be accountable for those.” Gadon also works to assure former Senator Bongbong Marcos’ timely take over to the VP post. He believes that as an appointee of Pnoy, Marcos’ electoral protest against Robredo won’t get the justice it deserves under Sereno’s Supreme Court watch.
Lawyer Larry Gadon who filed an impeachment complaint against Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno admits that he ran for Senator under the banner of Lakas and the Kilusang Bagong Lipunan (KBL) in 2016. The party is affiliated with the Marcoses. But he firmly denied; “No, Bongbong Marcos has nothing to do with this complaint. In fact, he was surprised that I am the one who filed it.”
[VIDEO]: Bongbong, Duterte backing Sereno impeachment? Lawyer says no
No Presidential Influence
He also denied that President Du30 is behind the complaint. “I only met the President 5 times and we never talked. Just a shake hand and ‘hi, sir’ and thank you. That’s all. He has nothing to do with this.”
Gadon also denied that former President and now Congresswoman Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is behind the complaint. This speculation mushrooms after her previous appointee, the late Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona, was impeached and removed from the High Court. Gadon is a member of Arroyo’s legal team.
Vengeance is Not for Arroyo
Gadon previously tried to convince Mrs. Arroyo to file a complaint against Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales. This was for malicious persecution but Mrs. Arroyo rejected the idea. He was even scolded when he told reporters that she was contemplating on filing a case. He said this time that Mrs. Arroyo did not endorse the impeachment complaint against Sereno. “I did not ask her,” he said.
Sufficient in Form and Substance
The House of Representatives justice committee recently announces that Gadon’s complaint is sufficient in form and substance. Among the Supreme Court documents, Gadon used were official lists of Sereno’s travel expenses and appointment letters. He also cited the Supreme Court’s purchase of a P5.1 million luxury vehicle for the CJ. Sereno’s discrepancies on her statement of assets liabilities and net worth (SALN) and her attorney’s fees in the Piatco Case were also raised. Sereno decided to keep quiet about it and refrained from making comments.
An impeachment complaint is already filed against the Commission on Elections chairperson Andres Bautista. This is on the ground of the betrayal of public trust. Plus the culpable violation of the Constitution over allegations of ill-gotten wealth. This development clears the way for the recount required on Bongbong Marcos’ election protest which is on the second part.
Youtube video by; GMA News
[VIDEO]: Andres Bautista, sinampahan ng reklamong impeachment dahil sa betrayal of public trust.
Former Negros Oriental Rep. Jacinto Paras with his lawyers Ferdinand Topacio and Manuelito Luna filed the impeachment complaint at the House of Representatives’ Secretary General’s office against Bautista. Deputy Speaker Gwen Garcia, Kabayan Rep. Harry Roque, and Cavite Rep. Abraham Tolentino endorsed the impeachment complaint. It fulfills the first requirement for an impeachment complaint to be duly endorsed by a member of the lower House.
Bautista faced an impeachment complaint about betrayal of public trust and culpable violations of the Constitution for not declaring his true wealth in his Statement of Assets and Liabilities Networth (SALN). Graft and corruption for allegedly receiving commissions from Divina Law Offices, the legal counsel of Venezuelan election technology supplier and Comelec’s biggest contractor Smartmatic are also featured.
Doubts on the Automated Election
Cebu Representative Gwen Garcia said that she decides to endorse the complaint to clear out all speculations since the wife presented to the media passbooks which showed Bautista’s undeclared wealth. The allegations against Bautista cast doubt on the credibility of the recently concluded 2016 elections, she said. “Personally, I have always had serious doubts about the automated voting systems. I think it’s the right time now to see and check on the veracity as well as the credibility of the automated voting system, as evidenced by this very, very controversial happening,” Garcia added.
On to the Recount
Leni Robredo’s Camp always used the first part of Bongbong Marcos’ election protest as the cause for the recount delay. They said that the second part can only start after the first part is resolved. This is about the credibility of the digital election process in 2016. Now that the COMELEC Chair already faces an impeachment complaint after the evidence presented by his estranged wife, the recount must start immediately to satisfy public interest.