Enrile volunteered to join prosecution team vs Sereno - Umali

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 11 2018 03:41 PM | Updated as of Mar 11 2018 03:53 PM

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MANILA - Former Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile volunteered to be a part of the prosecution team in the looming impeachment trial of Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, the chair of the House justice committee said Sunday.

"Some discussions had already been made on this. We just need time to obtain confirmation from the speaker and the majority leader," Oriental Mindoro Rep. Rey Umali told ANC, noting that Enrile is "most willing" to join the prosecution team.

Enrile, now 94, presided over the Senate impeachment trial that convicted the late Chief Justice Renato Corona in 2012 for failing to disclose around $2.4 million in bank deposits in his statement of assets, liabilities, and net worth (SALN).

Umali said Enrile will be a big help to the prosecution once impeachment trial begins, most especially because the issue set to be tackled is Sereno's alleged failure to declare some of her wealth on her SALN. 

The former Senate President recently released a paper, a copy of which was obtained by ABS-CBN, in which he called attention to the constitutional requirement for public officials to fully disclose their wealth. 

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Meanwhile, the camp of Sereno said they remain unfazed by reports of Enrile joining the prosecution team, stressing that the Chief Justice, who has taken an indefinite leave, is "in true fighting form."

Sereno spokesperson lawyer Josalee Deinla said their team of lawyers has also been anticipating which charges in the complaint filed by lawyer Larry Gadon will be included in the articles of impeachment.

"Kahit sino pa man 'yan, pinaghahandaan naman ni Chief Justice. [Nasa] fighting form din siya -- in true fighting form. Kahit gaano kagagaling 'yung bubuo ng prosecution panel, handa siyang harapin," she told DZMM on Sunday.

Rep. Umali said a lot of lawyers have also volunteered to be part of the prosecution team, such as Biboy Malaya and Tranquil Salvador, who were on the opposing teams during the trial of the late Chief Justice Corona. 

Voting 38-2, the House justice committee has ruled that there were enough grounds to impeach Sereno. Panel members are currently drafting the articles of impeachment for the plenary's approval.