MANILA, Philippines – The camp of embattled Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno did not mince words against lawyer Larry Gadon, who filed an impeachment complaint against her.
Gadon is insisting Sereno does not need lawyers when she cross-examines witnesses presented for her impeachment, which the House justice committee is set to discuss in a hearing next week. (READ: For 3rd time, Sereno asks House panel to allow cross-examination)
“Atty Lorenzo Gadon should review his law. Any impeachment proceeding, while political in character, does not take away the constitutional rights of the respondent. This political process is imbued with judicial character akin to a criminal prosecution,” said Sereno’s spokesperson and lawyer Jojo Lacanilao in a statement.
He argued Sereno should be accorded the right to counsel and the right to cross-examine witnesses through her lawyers, which Lacanilao said, are the same rights guaranteed by the 1987 Constitution to all Filipinos. (READ: How Sereno answered her impeachment complaint)
“We make a mockery of the law and the Constitution if the Chief Justice is denied her right to counsel, and by depriving her of this right, we also deny her the right to cross-examine the complainant and the witnesses through her lawyers,” said Lacanilao.
“It would be a pathetic farce if these constitutional rights are denied by Congress, whose members have sworn to uphold and defend the Constitution,” he added.
Lacanilao then lamented why Gadon is out to “take away” Sereno’s constitutional rights.
“He is afraid of his own ghost for putting together lies after lies in his impeachment complaint to unjustly unseat the Chief Justice and forward his crooked agenda. As a lawyer, Mr Gadon knows fully well that his complaints are not impeachable offenses and do not stand a chance when they go through the rigors of scrutiny. His baseless charges will be unmasked,” he said.
The House justice committee found sufficient grounds in Gadon’s impeachment complaint against Sereno, which alleges undeclared assets, excess use of SC funds, and acts not authorized by the SC en banc. – Rappler.com