SC summons one of alleged 'fixers' in judiciary

by Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 21 2014 01:38 PM | Updated as of Mar 22 2014 01:16 AM

MANILA (2nd UPDATE) - The Supreme Court (SC) has summoned one of the so-called "Ma'am Arlenes," tagged in some reports as a major "fixer" in the judiciary.

The SC ad hoc committee, chaired by Associate Justice Marvic Leonen, tasked to probe alleged corruption in the judiciary, summoned Arlene Angeles Lerma to its 14th meeting.

The schedule and other details of the meeting are confidential "to allow greater freedom on the part of resource persons to speak and to give the committee members the flexibility to probe more deeply."

The high court ordered a probe into alleged case-fixing in the courts following reports a certain "Ma'am Arlene" has been influencing the outcome of various cases.

Lerma is a friend of Manila Vice-Mayor Isko Moreno. Her name has been cropping up as the possible "Ma'am Arlene" subject of reports.

Lerma has not surfaced to clear her name.

The SC committee has had 13 sessions, so far, and received sworn statements from 32 resource persons, among them members and employees of the judiciary and other public officials.

The committe has also received documents, photographs, reports, as well as "information and tips" from "official as well as unofficial sources."

"The committe has also been relying on information provided by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), which has been in close coordination with the Investigating Committee. All these documents, information and tips have allowed the committee to pursue independently other sources of information," the high court said, in a press statement.

A preliminary report to the SC En Banc will be submitted by the committee during the high court's summer session.

The ad hoc committee is also composed of retired SC Justices Alicia Austria-Martinez and Romeo Callejo.