Sereno camp defends P1.9-M hotel stay

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 18 2018 10:53 AM

Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno answers questions during a forum in Manila, December 7, 2017. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - The camp of Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno on Thursday defended her office's use of P1.9 million worth of hotel accommodations during an Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) conference.

Sereno's 3-night stay at the Shangri-la hotel in Boracay island in 2015 did not undergo a bidding process, a finance official of the high tribunal had claimed in an impeachment hearing against her on Wednesday. This was refuted by Atty. Josalee Deinla, Sereno's spokesperson.

"Patunayan ho nila na walang pinagdaanang proseso sa ilalim ng batas kasi iyan ho ay approved ng Supreme Court en banc," Deinla told DZMM.

"Ang mahalaga ho d'yan, walang notice of disallowance na galing sa COA (Commission on Audit)," she added.

(They should show proof that it did not undergo a bidding process because that was approved by the Supreme Court en banc. What matters there is that there was no notice of disallowance from COA.)

The Supreme Court chose and paid for Shangri-la Boracay's Presidential Villa because it can provide the security needs of 10 ASEAN judiciary leaders whom Sereno met with, said Deinla.

Sereno and her staff even saved expenses by maximizing the use of the villa and sleeping there, instead of booking separate rooms, she added.

Sereno is also facing allegations of corruption over her use of a P5.2-million security vehicle.

House lawmakers had said the acquisition of the vehicle was "predetermined" because Sereno's office had requested for a specific brand, thus violating procurement laws.

Deinla said Sereno only requested for a bulletproof Toyota Land Cruiser because it can provide her security needs.

"Iyan po ay dumaan sa tamang proseso. Isinama po iyang sa procurement planning ng Korte Suprema at iyan po ay hindandle din ng Bids and Awards Committee," she said.

(That underwent the right process, the procurement planning of the Supreme Court and was handled by the Bids and Awards Committee.)