Sereno camp says impeach accuser resorting to 'fishing expedition'

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 23 2017 04:23 PM

The House justice committee hearing on November 22, 2017 of the impeachment against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno. Manny Palmero, ABS-CBN News

MANILA- The camp of Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno on Thursday alleged that the impeachment hearing at the House of Representatives on Wednesday was used as a venue for a “fishing expedition” against the top magistrate.

Lawyer Josa Deinla, one of the spokespersons of Sereno, said the committee hearing showed that the allegations of lawyer Lorenzo Gadon against the Chief Justice do not constitute impeachable offenses.

“It has always been our position that the people’s money should never fund a fishing expedition and unfortunately, this was what exactly happened in Wednesday’s hearing,” Deinla said.

“Mr. Gadon’s resorting to fishing expedition, with the aid of some members of the committee, served to highlight one crucial fact—there is no solid evidence and sufficient grounds for impeachment against the Chief Justice."

Gadon on Wednesday admitted that he did not have personal knowledge in one of his accusations against the Chief Justice-- the alleged confrontation between Associate Justice Teresita De Castro and Sereno, and that he was just relying on a news article in the Manila Times written by alleged court insider Jomar Canlas.

House Committee on Justice Chairman Rep. Reynaldo Umali earlier said Gadon may face perjury charges if proven that some of the statements he made during impeachment proceedings against Sereno are false.

“It is pretty clear that Mr. Gadon’s allegations have no strong and solid bases, owing to his failure to provide the justice committee with evidence he claimed to have personal knowledge of,” Deinla said.

“We are right from the beginning that his impeachment complaint was nothing but garbage and should have not been entertained in the first place,” she added.

Gadon has accused the Chief Justice of misdeclaring her wealth, having an extravagant lifestyle and bypassing her colleagues in the issuance of administrative orders, among others. 

Sereno's camp on Wednesday said she "looks forward" to her impeachment trial at the Senate after the top magistrate's request to be represented by counsel was junked by members of the House justice committee.