Kailangan talaga pumunta siya: Speaker insists Sereno must appear before panel
Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez on Friday challenged Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno to appear before the House justice panel hearing on the impeachment complaint against her instead of making statements before the media.
Alvarez said that as long as Sereno stays in office, the House justice panel will continue to gather evidence against her based on the complaint filed by lawyer and former senatorial candidate Larry Gadon.
The Speaker said Sereno's statements before the media are "not valid" and said the Chief Justice should defend herself before the House lawmakers.
"Dahil hindi siya nag-a-appear sa hearing, paano niya dedepensahan ang sarili niya, di ba? Tapos maglalabas na lang siya ng statement sa media, hindi naman valid yun. Kailangan talagang pumunta siya roon para i-disprove niya yung mga allegations at ebidensiya na nilahad laban sa kanya," he told radio DZMM.
The House justice committee earlier barred Sereno's lawyers from participating in the impeachment hearings, saying the Chief Justice must appear before the committee.
Sereno's lawyers said they have no choice but to send real-time commentaries on the proceedings to present their rebuttal.
During the interview, Alvarez again denied that he has a personal agenda against Sereno who once testified against him in connection with an allegedly anomalous deal. "Siguro maging objective na lang tayo dahil gumagawa lang sila ng issues na wala naman kaugnayan doon sa mga charges," he said.
Alvarez, a former senior assistant general manager of the Manila International Airport Authority, was accused of awarding the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 build-operate-transfer contract to Philippine International Air Terminals Co. Inc. (Piatco).
Sereno, as co-counsel of the Office of the Solicitor General, represented the government in arbitration proceedings against Piatco.
Piatco eventually lost and was ordered to pay some P1 billion. Sereno received P30 million professional fee from the government after the legal victory against Piatco.
Watchdog group Filipino Alliance for Transparency and Empowerment (Fate) said Sereno also testified against Alvarez in a separate plunder case, claiming that the Piatco deal was "grossly disadvantageous to the government."
Lawyer Lorenzo Gadon has sought Sereno's ouster for her alleged failure to declare the fee in her 2010 statement of assets, liabilities, and net worth (SALN).
RADIO DZMM, December 1, 2017