MANILA - The lawyer who filed the impeachment complaint against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno said the country's top magistrate should elevate the ouster rap to the Supreme Court if she wants to experience "in-your-face humiliation."
This after Sereno's spokesperson, lawyer Carlo Cruz, said elevating to the High Court the decision of the House of Representatives on their bid to have Sereno represented by counsel in the impeachment proceedings remains an "option."
This even while Cruz said there is no such plan yet as Sereno's camp will make an assessment when the House Committee on Justice re-convenes on Nov. 20.
"Seeking relief in her own turf? Yes, please, CJ Sereno may go to the Supreme Court by all means if she wants to experience first hand an in-your-face humiliation from her colleagues, no less," lawyer Lorenzo Gadon said in a statement Thursday.
"She could not even get a simple statement defending or supporting her from the justices and judges and she would even think that they will rebuke the Congress by ordering them to stop the impeachment?" he added.
The Chief Justice is currently facing impeachment at the House of Representatives after the complaint filed by Gadon was declared sufficient in form, substance and grounds, paving the way for the determination of probable cause.
The complaint stemmed from several accusations, including Sereno's alleged lavish lifestyle and non-disclosure of fees she received as government counsel in a case involving the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 in her 2010 Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN).
Sereno is insisting on her right to have counsel represent her in the impeachment proceedings, which House leaders have dismissed saying that the right is limited to Sereno alone.
Lawmakers noted that under House rules, lawyers are forbidden from talking to resource persons in legislative hearings. The House Justice Committee has asked lawmakers to submit their position papers on the bid of the Sereno camp.
Gadon maintained that Sereno cannot appeal to the court any decision by the House on her insistence to tap private counsel in the impeachment proceedings.
"What is she deeply worried about doing direct and cross-examination by herself? After all, she is the Chief Justice with the implied connotation of primus inter pares (the best among equals). Is she avoiding the public to feast on the spectacle of a Chief Justice no less who is not adept in the basic skills of litigation like any experienced lawyer (the last among equals)?" Gadon said.