SUPREME Court (SC) Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, through her lawyers, answered on Monday, September 25, the allegations contained in the impeachment complaint filed against her at the House of Representatives, saying most of them were "based on fake news."
"This is nothing short of an impeachment exercise based on fake news," Sereno said in her 86-page reply.
Sereno was represented by high-profile lawyers led by lawyer Alexander Poblador.
The top magistrate added that her alleged violations do not even qualify as impeachable offenses under the 1987 Constitution.
"The complaint should be dismissed not only because the charges are totally false but also because they do not constitute the grounds for impeachment under the Constitution," she said.
"If the grounds for impeachment of the Chief Justice can be trivialized to include any ground which Congress may consider, the fate of the Judiciary would be subjected to the whims of Congress," Sereno added.
Lawyer Larry Gadon, who filed the impeachment raps, accused Sereno of concealing part of her wealth from her Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net worth, unilaterally deciding on some of the high court's matters, and living a lavish lifestyle by purchasing a P5-million vehicle.
Another impeachment complaint was filed and heard by the House justice panel but it failed to satisfy the standards set by the previous proceedings.
Sereno likewise reminded lawmakers of using the "extraordinary powers of impeachment" to dignify false claims.
"The extraordinary power of impeachment is not meant to be an excuse to investigate a co-equal branch for the purpose of substantiating what is in the first place not true," said Sereno.
Asked if Sereno would step down from her post, her lawyer said the Chief Justice is "in her element" and will stay as leader of the judiciary.
"Chief Justice will not resign. She will fight this to the end and more. She is resilient, she will stay on," lawyer Jojo Lacanilao said. (SunStar Philippines)