MANILA - Lawyer Joyce Fabian on Wednesday denied personally knowing Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, during the continuation of the House Justice Committee hearing on the impeachment complaint against the chief magistrate.
Atty. Fabian rejected complainant Atty. Larry Gadon's allegation that her connection with Sereno was the reason why she was able to join the Supreme Court and appointed as chair of the Technical Working Group Special Committee on Survivorship Benefits despite not possessing the right qualifications.
"For the record, I totally deny the allegation of the complainant that the Chief Justice and myself know each other before I came to the Supreme Court. That's a total lie. That also reveals that he does not know personally my relationship, my competence and my abilities to be able to conclude as he said, that I know nothing," Fabian said.
Fabian said she passed the bar in 2011 and was hired by the judiciary in 2013. Prior to her career as a lawyer, she is also a certified public accountant.
She said that although they share the same faith, she did not use connections and instead submitted an application to land a job at the Supreme Court.
"Parang kamangha-mangha na di namin kilala ang isa't-isa pero naniniwala po ako na kung ang aking qualification ay acceptable, sa palagay ko po hindi naman si Chief Justice ang nagii-screen ng aplikante, mayroon pong proseso sa Supreme Court yan," she said.
But Gadon still finds the appointment of Fabian as TWG chair irregular.
"It is illogical to be getting someone for a position which is supposed to be strictly confidential. So you won't get an applicant who just applied from an outside source and you will post complete trust and confidence on somebody whom you do not know. That's illogical," he said.
Gadon also pointed out that since the position is a very sensitive one, someone who has experience in the judiciary should have been appointed instead.
"Sabi nga ni Justice [Samuel] Martires, how can a technical working group reverse a decision of the Supreme Court in 271 cases," he said.
In the hearing last Monday, Justice Martires questioned the creation of the TWG, saying it was unnecessary as there was already a decision on the pension claims penned by himself.
"It shows that she's not really familiar with what's going on in the Supreme Court," Gadon said.
Gadon is accusing Sereno of causing the delay in survivorship benefits as she allegedly created the TWG where the claims got stuck for about 2 years.