ONE of the impeachment endorsers has advised Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno to make herself available once the committee summoned her.
Deputy Minority Leader Anthony Bravo said this will give Sereno an opportunity to be heard and not be put on trial by publicity.
“I believe it is only just and right that we provide an opportunity for allegations against the Chief Justice to be heard so that we can ascertain if there are bases to remove her from public office,” Bravo said.
During the first hearing of the House committee on justice, members found an impeachment complaint against Sereno sufficient in form and in substance.
The complainant, Atty. Larry Gadon accused Sereno of various acts constituting culpable violation of the Constitution, betrayal of public trust, graft and other high crimes.
Following the determination of sufficiency in form and substance, the committee gave Sereno 10 working days to respond in writing.
The Chief Justice will not resign, her spokesman said yesterday.
“It’s not being considered by the Chief Justice even as an option at this point,” Atty. Carlo Cruz said.
Also, Cruz defended Sereno on multiple allegations hurled against her by her detractors.
He said Sereno did not hide her earnings from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 expropriation case in her statement of assets, liabilities, and net worth (SALN) as claimed by the complainants in the impeachment case.
Cruz pointed out that the legal service fee earned by Sereno in the arbitration case involving Philippine International Airport Terminal Co. was a “matter of government record and never concealed.”
“She never hid it. The taxes for that earning was paid and during the time that she earned it up to the time she entered the Supreme Court, she has invested in some properties like a rest house,” he explained.
Sereno worked in the legal team led by retired SC Justice Florentino Feliciano in the arbitration case involving the NAIA 3 expropriation.
Records showed that Sereno earned at least $336,287.66 or more than P16 million for her legal service.
In fact, Cruz argued that Sereno need not even declare such earning in her SALN.
“These fees were earned four or five years before she stepped into the Supreme Court. I don’t think it’s reasonable to declare all your earnings prior to becoming a public official,” he stressed.
With Hector Lawas