Sereno camp: Gadon can't hold Chief Justice, SC officials hostage
MANILA - Lawyer Lorenzo Gadon on Thursday threatened to file criminal cases against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno and senior Supreme Court officials unless the top magistrate resigns on March 1.
Gadon said Sereno, whose impeachment he has sought before Congress, should vacate her post because of several alleged violations of the law.
"Ako ay nananawagan kay CJ (Chief Justice) Sereno, mag-resign ka na kasi sobrang obvious na you violated the law. You violated the Constitution. Marami kang ginawang katiwalian sa Supreme Court," he said in a press conference.
(I am calling upon Chief Justice Sereno, you should resign because it's obvious that you violated the law. You violated the Constitution. You committed several irregularities in the Supreme Court.)
Gadon said he would charge Sereno with graft for her purchase of a P5-million Toyota Land Cruiser as her service vehicle at the high court, her hiring of an information technology consultant who allegedly received hefty pay and allowances, and the alleged delay on the release of benefits for surviving spouses of deceased judges.
He had cited the same allegations in his impeachment complaint. Sereno has denied any irregularity in undertaking her duties as chief magistrate.
Apart from Sereno, Gadon said he would file charges against the following Supreme Court officials:
- Thelma Bahia (Deputy Court Administrator)
- Ma. Carina Cunanan (Assistant Chief, Office of Administrative Services)
- Corazon Ferrer-Flores (Chief, Fiscal Management and Budget Office)
- Michael Ocampo (Court Attorney VI, Office of the Chief Justice)
- Ma. Lourdes Oliveros (Chief Justice Staff Head, Office of the Chief Justice)
- Anna Li Papa-Gombio (Deputy Clerk of Court en banc)
- Jocelyn Fabian (Court Attorney VI, Office of the Chief Justice)
- Helen Macasaet (IT consultant)
- Raul Villanueva (Deputy Court Administrator)
- Justice Zaldy Trespeses (former Judicial Staff Head, Office of the Chief Justice)
The top magistrate's camp, however, said Sereno would not step down and hit Gadon's ultimatum, saying he cannot hold the chief justice and officials of the Supreme Court hostage.
"The Chief Justice has made it clear since the beginning of this well-orchestrated but pathetic telenovela masquerading as an impeachment proceeding that she will not resign and will continue to dispense her faithfully sworn duty under the Constitution," a statement from Sereno's camp read.
"Like a firecracker that didn't explode, Atty. Gadon's ultimatum to the Chief Justice and certain court officials is just another dud. Once again, the Chief Justice cannot be hostage to bombastic threats that are built entirely on lies," it added.
Gadon said he also plans to ask President Rodrigo Duterte to nullify Sereno's appointment to the High Court because she allegedly failed to comply with the requirements.
"'Yung appointment niya is tainted with fraud. Isipin niyo na lang kung anong klaseng precedent 'yan dito sa ating judicial system, sa ating governance na mayroon kang in-appoint fraudulently tapos hahayaan mo," he said.
(Her appointment is tainted with fraud. Imagine what kind of precedent that would set in our justice system, in our governance, that someone was allowed to be appointed fraudulently.)
Gadon said he would also seek the disbarment of members of the Judicial and Bar Council for including Sereno in the shortlist of then candidates for the top Supreme Court post in 2012, alleging there were anomalies in the process.
"I have a very confident prediction that the Supreme Court will punish the JBC officials and it will result in the nullification of the appointment of CJ Sereno," he said.
Former President Benigno Aquino III had appointed Sereno to the post six years ago upon the removal of then Chief Justice Renato Corona over his failure to declare all of his assets in his statement of assets, liabilities and net worth.