THE chairman of the House committee on justice said yesterday that Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno is
welcome to personally answer the allegations in the impeachment complaint against her and confront all
the witnesses during the proceedings.
This was stressed by Oriental Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo Umali, the panel chairman, as Atty. Carlo L.
Cruz, Sereno’s spokesman, assured that the Chief Justice will submit her reply-affidavit before the
committee this morning where she will insist “why the complaint must fail.”
“Now if she wants to appear then we most welcome that,” said Umali.
“It’s her constitutional right to confront the witnesses. Her presence there would give her that
opportunity to question or to raise issues... or clarifications about alleged acts committed that are
supposedly violative of the Constitution or would constitute as ground for impeachment.”
“If she doesn’t then it will remain un-rebutted and that will be held on if she doesn’t answer,”
But Umali said she expects Sereno to submit her reply to the impeachment complaint filed by
Atty. Larry Gadon after the committee declared the ouster petition sufficient in form and substance.
“We are expecting her to submit a written answer after the complaint was ruled as sufficient in
form and substance,” said Umali whose panel served the notice for Sereno to reply last September 15
where the latter has 10 calendar days to respond.
According to media advisory sent to House reporters, Sereno’s lawyers will submit her reply-
affidavit at the House committee on justice at 10 this morning and the legal team will hold a press
conference afterwards at Max’s restaurant in Quezon City Memorial Circle.
Sereno, an appointee of former President Benigno Aquino III, is being accused of culpable
violation of the Constitution, betrayal of public trust, corruption, and other high crimes for her
alleged litany of lapses including untruthful declaration of her wealth.
Earlier, Speaker Pantaleon “Bebot” Alvarez has bared that more witnesses, including Supreme
Court (SC) justices have expressed willingness to testify on the impeachment complaint against Sereno.
The first verified complaint against Sereno that the panel declared sufficient in form and
substance was filed by Gadon, president of the PDU30 Constitutional Reform to Federalism and a former
lawyer of ex-President-turned Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, and endorsed by at least 25
lawmakers where the complainant accused the Chief Justice of betrayal of public trust, culpable
violation of the Constitution, corruption and other high crimes.