Alvarez warns Sereno vs seeking SC help for right to counsel

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 20 2017 04:56 PM

MANILA - House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez warned the camp of Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno camp against elevating the matter of her right to counsel before impeachment proceedings to the Supreme Court. 

Asked if the House will obey a ruling on a possible case raised by the Sereno camp, Alvarez said, "Punitin ko yan at isampal ko sa mukha nila, pakakain ko."

Alvarez insisted that the House has "exclusive jurisdiction" over impeachment. He told Sereno's lawyers to study the Mandatory Continuing Legal Education (MCLE), where this was made clear.

Alvarez also urged Sereno to just face Congress as he hit back at Sereno for implying that her previous testimony against Alvarez in a case motivated the ongoing impeachment case against her at the House.

Alvarez was transportation secretary when Sereno represented the government against the the Philippine International Air Terminals Co. Inc. (Piatco), builder of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3.

"Alam niyo, ang hirap naman sa kaniya, kung saan-saan niya dinadala yung usapan. Tapos na yung issue sa akin, nanalo na ako sa lahat ng korte. Harapin niya yung reklamo sa kaniya ngayon and please argue on the basis of merits, hindi yung kung ano-ano mga issues, side issues na walang kinalaman dito sa impeachment complaint niya," he said.

"Sana mag appear siya sa Committee on Justice para unang una, masagot niya lahat ng reklamo sa kaniya; pangalawa ay magkakaroon siya ng pagkakataon para kumprontahin yung mga complainants at mga witnesses," he added.

"Ito ay binibigay sa kaniya bilang pagkilala sa due process. Sana 'wag sayangin yun, ipakita niya mali yung akusasyon sa kaniya kaysa kung saan-saan siya nagsasalita, kung saan-saan niya dinadala usapan. Sa aking pananaw, pagka ginawa mo na yan, nililihis mo usapan, baka mahina depensa."

Asked about Sereno's statement that her impeachment may be a threat to democracy, Alvarez said: "Bakit, sinabi ba niya yan nung inimpeach si Corona? Eh yun yung constitutional process ng ating saligang batas, talagang may nagreklamo. Anong gagawin natin?Kailangan ba sabihin natin (na) 'di pwede kasi wala nang safe na judge or justice? 'Di na tama argumento niya," he said.

Asked if the House will allow Sereno's lawyers to represent her in the impeachment proceedings, Alvarez insisted that Sereno herself show up. 

The House Justice Committee has set the determination of probable cause on Wednesday. 

Alvarez said, should Sereno fail to show up and controvert the allegations, the allegations will be accepted.