MANILA - Asserting his allegations, lawyer Lorenzo Gadon has branded Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno's reply to his impeachment complaint a "litany of lamentable lies."
"The 84-page verified answer of Respondent Sereno is nothing but a litany of lamentable lies and lame logic crafted to escape her impeachment and eventual removal from office," Gadon said in his verified reply.
"It is overflowing with legal jargon, semantics and technicalities to justify highly questionable acts," he said.
Gadon's impeachment complaint alleges that Sereno had committed culpable violation of the Constitution, betrayal of public trust, corruption, and other high crimes for allegedly lying in her statement of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN), falsification of High Court documents, delayed court action, alleged use of judiciary funds for a P5-million vehicle, and luxury travels, among others.
Gadon said Sereno told "blatant and brazen lies" when she denied the veracity of the following allegations:
- falsifying Supreme Court resolutions;
- delaying numerous petitions for retirement benefits of justices and judges, or their surviving spouses;
- manipulating and delaying the resolution on the transfer of cases against the terrorist Maute group to Taguig City;
- failing to make truthful disclosures in her SALN;
- manipulating the Judicial and Bar Council shortlists;
- acquiring a P5.1-million Toyota Land Cruiser 2017 model using public funds;
- using public funds to finance her extravagant and lavish lifestyle;
- ordering Muntinlupa judges not to issue warrants of arrest against Sen. Leila M. De Lima;
- meeting the Presiding Justice and Associate Justices of the Court of Appeals (CA) and instructing them not to comply with the processes of the House of Representatives and to immediately question the same before the Supreme Court;
- embellishing her Personal Data Sheet (PDS) in applying for the judiciary to overstate her credentials and;
- hiring an information and communications technology (ICT) consultant with excessive compensation without public bidding
Gadon also alleged that Sereno prevented Justices of the Court of Appeals from making a courtesy call on President Rodrigo Duterte, and attacked the imposition of martial law in a public address.
Gadon said Sereno also played favorites "by allowing key positions in the Supreme Court to remain unfilled for a long period of time in order to wait for her staff to qualify," and by granting "foreign travels and travel allowances" to newly-hired staff.
"From her present actuations, it is evident that power, authority and extravagance have gone to her head. She has considered her lonesome self as the Supreme Court En Banc," Gadon said.
"She has considered her lonesome self as superior to both the Executive and Legislative Departments. She has considered her lonesome self as entitled to the extravagance that is fitting with her superiority, at the expense of public funds," he added.
Sereno's blanket denial to the impeachment charges was filed at the House of Representatives Monday.
Sereno's camp also asserted the chief magistrate's right to question witnesses when the House Justice Committee tackles the impeachment complaint against her.
- report from RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News.