AFTER the Holiday break, the House committee on justice will resume tomorrow the hearing on the impeachment case against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.
Aside from discussing the questioned acts allegedly committed by Sereno, chairman of the justice committee Oriental Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo Umali said the panel will also take up the letter sent by Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio.
Just recently, Carpio sent the committee a letter informing it that he will not attend and testify in the proceeding due to lack of knowledge on the case and accusations against Sereno.
The justice committee invited Carpio to appear in the hearing and to shed light on the issues involving Sereno.
Sereno is accused of at least 27 acts that constitute culpable violation of the Constitution, betrayal of public trust, graft and other high crimes.
“We will discuss it in the committee first,” Umali said in an interview, when asked to comment on Carpio’s refusal to attend.
Meanwhile, Umali confirmed that three Supreme Court justices are set to face a House panel to testify on January 15.
They are Associate Justices Lucas Bersamin, Diosdado Peralta, and Samuel Martires.
Umali said Bersamin will answer questions on resolutions supposedly issued by Sereno without en banc approval while Peralta will discuss Sereno’s alleged manipulation of the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) and the rules and procedures of the Supreme Court.
Among the grounds for impeachment filed against Sereno was her alleged exclusion of Associate Justice Francis Jardeleza from the JBC shortlist, even though he already had the needed votes.
On the other hand, Martires, Umali said, will talk about the delay in the release of retirement benefits of judges and justices.
“These are important kasi again, this will somehow substantiate ’yung mga aspect ng transgression ng collegial nature ng Supreme Court. (These) will help strengthen the position of the prosecution if they would support what has been said,” Umali said.
In the previous hearing, Associate Justices Noel Tijam, Teresita de Castro, and Francis Jardeleza, and retired Associate Justice Arturo Brion testified against Sereno in the impeachment hearings last year.