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Rebuffed Sereno lawyers leave hearing

  • Written by Jester P. Manalastas
  • Published in Nation
  • Read: 131

THE lawyers of Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno decided not to listen and observe in yesterday’s impeachment proceedings after the committee on justice did not allow them to represent the respondent.

After the committee rejected their motion to let them cross examine complainant Atty. Larry Gadon and witnesses, the lawyers asked permission to leave the hearing.

In an interview, Atty. Alex Poblador clarified that they did not walk out but asked permission to just leave the room since they are not allowed to speak or manifest in behalf of Sereno.

“We stand by our position, the cross examination should be conducted by the counsels for the Chief Justice,” Poblador said.

“We decided to leave because we cannot meaningfully participate anyway and we did not want to participate in the procedure, it is contrary to the position of the Chief Justice that the cross examination should be conducted by her counsel,” headed.

With the vote of 30-4, the committee chaired by Oriental Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo Umali, denied the legal counsel of Sereno the chance to cross-examine the witnesses to be presented in proceedings of the impeachment complaint against her.
    
Before the resumption of the proceeding, Sereno’s lawyers submitted two letters, and subsequently a formal motion, to assert the high magistrate’s right to cross-examine the witnesses against her through her counsel.
    
Since Sereno is the respondent of the complaint, lawmakers wanted her to be present in the hearing and herself conduct the cross examination of Gadon and witnesses.
    
But Sereno instead of attending the hearing issued a Special Power of Attorney (SPA) authorizing her lawyers to represent her.
    
At yesterday’s hearing, Umali explained that the panel is not depriving Sereno her right to counsel.
    
Sereno’s legal counsel may ask questions through the members of the panel or through the chairman himself, Umali said.
    
The House justice panel yesterday started determining probable cause in the impeachment case against Sereno.