MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) - Malacañang said it would welcome the testimony of Supreme Court Associate Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno should she decide to appear as witness in the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona.
Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said Sereno’s testimony would help “shed light” on the circumstances surrounding the High Court’s issuance of the temporary restraining order on the watchlist order against former President Arroyo.
“The testimony of Justice Sereno would be welcome because she would testify as to what she wrote in her dissenting opinion and certainly it is part of the whole process of bringing out the truth in that particular decision on the TRO,” Lacierda said.
“Obviously, there [have] been some statements issued by Justice Sereno in her dissenting opinion which would show the unilateral action of Chief Justice Corona and that should be brought to light by way of her testimony,” he added.
The Palace is hoping that the Senate would consider allowing Sereno to testify in the impeachment court.
“We hope that the Senate impeachment court will look into the whole idea of the impeachment court as an avenue for the truth to come out, of course subject to their regulations. It is something that we would hope that Justice Sereno would be able to testify [on] and to shed out the truth on that TRO deliberations in the Supreme Court,” Lacierda said.
Lacierda added that justices should not worry about the possibility of Sereno testifying in the impeachment court, saying it would not be the first time that details about the High Court’s internal deliberations were made public.
He said this has happened before in the case Javellana vs The Executive Secretary on the ratification of the 1973 Constitution.
“Most of the justices at that time disclosed the internal deliberations of the Supreme Court. This is not surprising to all of us. I think this should not be a cause for concern for the Supreme Court dahil nilalabas po ‘yan sa mga decision nila. Hindi lang natin napapansin. Ngayon lang po napansin ito dahil siguro malaking bagay po dahil may impeachment trial po na nangyayri ngayon,” Lacierda said.
Nevertheless, the Palace believes that there is already sufficient basis for the impeachment court to convict Corona, citing the alleged discrepancies between Corona’s statement of assets, liabilities, and net worth and his alleged bank accounts.
“I think Article 2 has sufficiently laid the basis to warrant a conviction,” Lacierda said.