Impunity in the Philippines

You invite Sereno, prosecution told

Rappler.com
Impeachment court avoids clash with SC, decides not to 'invite' the SC justice

MANILA, Philippines – The impeachment court on Monday, February 27, chose not to invite Supreme Court Associate Justice Ma Lourdes Sereno to testify, saying if the prosecution insists on having her it should send the invitation directly to her.

“Why don’t you invite Sereno first?” Presiding Officer and Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile told Prosecutor Neri Colmenares, who is leading the prosecution’s move to have Sereno appear at the trial.

At the resumption of the Corona impeachment trial, Enrile announced the court’s decision not to act on a prosecution motion to “invite” Sereno. He also said that Sen Antonio Trillanes IV had withdrawn his earlier request for the court to send “written interrogatories” to the associate justice.

Trillanes explained his move in a statement. “I agreed to withdraw my motion to serve written interrogatories so as not to prejudice the intention of the prosecution to invite Justice Sereno to physically appear before the impeachment court.”

Colmenares argued that the court should at least try, but Enrile stood his ground.

Sen Miriam Defensor-Santiago also stood up to accuse the prosecution of attempting to “place this impeachment court in a direct collision with the Supreme Court.”

Enrile said the impeachment court wants to avoid problems with the Supreme Court, especially when in the end the High Tribunal would be asked to judge the constitutionality of the trial itself.

On February 14, the High Tribunal barred justices and employees from testifying at the trial. While the Court said that each justice has the  right to volunteer to testify, he or she would need to seek permission from the Tribunal. – Rappler.com




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