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Sereno seeks dismissal of impeach complaint

  • Written by Ryan Ponce Pacpaco
  • Published in Nation
  • Read: 157

CHIEF Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno yesterday asked the House committee on justice to dismiss the
impeachment complaint against her, warning that the ouster petition was based on false and flimsy
grounds and has been undermining judicial independence.

In her 85-page verified reply, Sereno said the impeachment complaint filed by Atty. Larry Gadon
should be junked “for lack of sufficient grounds and for lack of probable cause.”
    
Atty. Alexander Poblador, Sereno’s lead counsel, said the ouster petition that the panel chaired
by Oriental Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo Umali declared sufficient in form and in substance was “baseless” and
“totally false.”
    
“All the charges alleged against the Chief Justice are intended to show that she is unfit for
her office.  This is totally outrageous because not only are the charges totally false, they ignore what
the Chief Justice has achieved for the judiciary and for the country as Chief Justice,” Poblador told
reporters after filing the Sereno’s reply before the committee.
    
Sereno’s camp maintained that she did not commit culpable violation of the Constitution, did not
betray public trust and did not commit corruption.
    
“I’d like to say these were allegations that were not substantiated, and should be dismissed
from the very start,” said Poblador, insisting that the impeachment complaint is based on “hearsay and
newspaper clippings.”
    
In a text message to People’s Tonight, Umali said Gadon will be given three days to respond to
the answer of Sereno who in turn also has three days to submit her rejoinder.
    
“Under the rules, the complainant has three [calendar] days to file a

reply and same period for the respondent to file a rejoinder,” said Umali, who vowed to immediately set
the hearing on the impeachment complaint against Sereno.
    
“The charges are not impeachable grounds, and let us not venture on possibilities outside the
case itself. We appeal to the sense of political justice of the members of the House and we hope that
they will decide on the merits of the case and not on dictates of political leaders, on political
agenda,” said Poblador.
    
“Whatever political maneuverings are happening, mananalo kami dito,” Lawyer Anacleto Rei “Jojo”
Lacanilao III, one of Sereno’s spokespersons, stressed. “The Chief Justice is convinced that this is
based on fake news.”
    
Poblador reiterated their preparedness to confront the testimonies of the reported six SC
justices who may testify against Sereno.
    
“We will let them testify, I would welcome them, but allow us to cross examine them, we will be
happy to cross examine them,” he said.
    
Poblador also pointed out that the purchase of a brand-new luxurious Toyota Land Cruiser 2017
model as Sereno’s personal vehicle in the amount of P5 million is “a non-issue and is not a ground for
impeachment.”
    
“The acquisition of the Toyota Land Cruiser 2017 model was neither an illegal nor an extravagant
use of public funds,” said Sereno in her reply, adding that she is permitted to acquire such vehicle
based on the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Administrative Order No. 233 along with the
President, Vice President, Senate President and Speaker.
    
“The purchase of the Land Cruiser is to ensure her safety and security. It is an expressed
exemption and legally allowed,” the Sereno’s camp said.
    
They also argued that Sereno fully declared to the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) the P30.3
million, not P37 million as alleged, that she earned from the government as legal fees for the PIATCO
cases where an approximate P8.7 million was paid as taxes.
    
“Her house and lot (Filinvest), modest vehicles, medical and funeral

expenses for her late father, mother and father-in-law, as well as investments and shares of stock, are
reflected in the Chief Justice’s SALN,” said her camp.