THE camp of Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno on Monday, January 15, took exception to the allegation that the chief magistrate has refused to participate in the impeachment process and stressed that she respects the hearings conducted by the House committee on justice.
Lawyer Jojo Lacanilao, Sereno's spokesperson, said the chief justice has instructed her lawyers to provide the committee all the documents that they require. She has also filed her answer to the complaint lodged by lawyer Lorenzo Gadon against her.
"Si Chief Justice Sereno po ay gumagalang sa proseso ng impeachment, ginagalang po nya ang Kongreso at siya po ay nagpa-participate (Chief Justice Sereno respects the impeachment process. She respects Congress and she is participating in the process)," Lacanilao said in response justice panel chair Reynaldo Umali's statement on Monday's impeachment hearing that Sereno's refusal to participate will leave the committee with no choice but to vote on the existence of probable cause.
"Lahat nga po ng hinihingi ng Kongreso at committee sa Supreme Court hindi niya pinigilan at sinabing ibigay lahat ng mga dokumento na nais na makuha ng komite para sa kasong ito (She has given instructions that Congress be provided all the documents that it requires)," Lacanilao added.
He pointed out that Sereno has filed her answer to the complaint against her through her reply-affidavit and even requested to allow her legal counsels to cross-examine the witnesses who will be presented by Gadon.
Her request, however, was denied by the committee.
As a respondent, Lacanilao noted that Sereno is presumed to be innocent.
He added that Sereno should not be the one to build the case against her but complainant Gadon, as the burden of proof lies with the latter.
He also said Sereno could not attend the hearings due to her busy schedule being the chief magistrate.
Umali earlier took a swipe at the chief justice for failure to attend the hearings on her impeachment and taking to the media and her speaking engagements instead her answer to the allegations against her.
Umali during Monday's hearing said the committee on justice's hearing is the proper venue for the chief justice to articulate her statement.
"Statement made in the media will not matter to this committee," he added. (SunStar Philippines)