Lawyers defend Sereno's P200,000 rent of Boracay villa

Patrick Quintos, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 27 2017 06:59 PM

MANILA - The camp of Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno denied claims she committed corruption when she booked a Boracay villa, worth P200,000 a night.

Speaking to ANC Headstart, lawyer Winnie Salumbides said Atty. Larry Gadon, who filed impeachment raps against Sereno, said the complainant was referring to a Chief Justices of Asia Convention held in Shangrila Boracay.

"Chief Justices of Asia Convention ito e, na doon hinost sa Shangrila Boracay. And in the course of their convention, the villa was used for meetings, for pictorials, and bayad na ito for one package," he explained.

Lawyer Josa Deinla added that despite the high rate, they were already given a "substantial" discount. As for the choice of venue, she said it was on the only place that could take care of the ASEAN chief justices' security in the island.

"We were given a discount, a substantial amount. Such a venue would only befit the stature of her guests, who were the chief justices of the ASEAN nations and they agreed unanimously to meet in Boracay," she said.

The Sereno camp also belied Gadon, who had claimed the Chief Justice has been living a life of luxury, traveling only in business class and always with an entourage of lawyers.

"She did not do it. 'Yung ganitong kuwento, halatang-halata na hindi kiilala ni Gadon si Chief Justice Sereno at ang pamilya Sereno," said Salumbides.

Meanwhile, lawyer Deinla also argued that Sereno's purchase of a luxury car, a Toyota Land Cruiser, was perfectly legal and went through the requisite procurement process.

"Under the law, the chief justice is one of the top officials of the country who can buy a luxury vehicle as a security vehicle," she explained.

She explained further that Sereno will eventually pass the vehicle on to the next chief justice when she retires.