3 SC justices ready to testify at Sereno impeach hearings

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 28 2017 09:34 AM | Updated as of Nov 28 2017 02:06 PM

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(UPDATED) Three Supreme Court magistrates have expressed willingness to participate in the impeachment proceedings against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, the House justice committee said Tuesday.

Sereno is accused of bypassing her colleagues and tampering with several court orders, including a temporary restraining order drafted by Associate Justice Teresita Leonardo-De Castro in 2013.

De Castro, Associate Justice Noel Tijam and retired justice Arturo Brion have said they will attend the impeachment hearings once they get clearance from the SC en banc, justice panel chairperson Reynaldo Umali told DZMM.

"Sila po'y sumulat sa atin at sinabi nilang sila'y willling at naghahanda para rito kaya lang mayroon po silang prosesong dapat pagdaanan at hinihingi po nila ang pahintulot from the whole court," Umali said.

The SC en banc is set to meet Tuesday as Umali's panel holds its third hearing to determine whether there is probable cause to pursue the case against Sereno.

Justice Committee Vice-Chairman Doy Leachon said the high court should approve the justices' attendance in the hearings "for the best interest of the proceeding, for the best interest of the court, for the benefit of the Filipino people."

"To clear out the mess that’s been cast upon before the Supreme Court, I think the en banc members would definitely give the clearance for the justices concerned to appear before the House Committee on Justice," he told ANC.

Congressmen, during Monday's hearing, looked into Sereno's statement of assets when she was still a professor at the University of the Philippines, and the taxes she paid after representing the government in an arbitration case.

The panel also grilled journalist Jomar Canlas about the source of his articles on the alleged tiff between Sereno and De Castro.

Sereno, who has denied any wrongdoing, refused to attend the hearings.

Watch a live streaming of the proceedings' resumption here.