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Will Carpio appear in Sereno impeachment hearing? It depends

Lian Buan
Will Carpio appear in Sereno impeachment hearing? It depends
18 court officials, including 8 justices and 4 judges are asked to appear in the Sereno impeachment proceedings at the House of Representatives

MANILA, Philippines – Supreme Court (SC) Associate Justice Antonio Carpio has yet to decide on whether he will appear before the House justice committee hearing the impeachment case against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.

In his letter to committee chairman Reynaldo Umali sent on Tuesday, December 12, Carpio said: “May the undersigned likewise be informed of what topics or matters will be asked during the committee hearings of each of the officials and employees named in your letter of 7 December 2017.”

On December 7, Umali sent a letter to the SC en banc inviting 18 court officials, including Carpio, to appear before the committee and “bring as requested any and all documents, objects or things under their possession.” (READ: Sereno impeachment: Cracks in the Supreme Court)

Sequence of events 

Before December 7, Carpio was mentioned at the hearing as one of the 3 justices who created the Special Committee on Retirement and Civil Service Benefits – an added layer which allegedly delayed the granting of survivorship benefits to widows of retired judges and justices.

Umali even said that there may be no necessity to call every justice mentioned in the hearing, if one testimony will already suffice to establish facts.

But Monday, December 11, came with 4 justices making strong statements against Sereno, the most controversial of which was Associate Jusice Francis Jardeleza’s testimony reviving the Itu Aba issue.

Jardeleza accused Sereno of committing an act of treason for using the Itu Aba issue to exclude him from the shortlist to become an SC justice in 2014.

Sereno’s lawyers pointed to Carpio as having been the one to raise the Itu Aba issue to the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC), which Sereno just heeded.

On Tuesday, Carpio responded to Umali’s letter asking to clarify the topics. 

An invitation was also sent to the 3 judges of the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court (RTC) handling the cases of detained Senator Leila de Lima. Complainant Larry Gadon said Sereno ordered the 3 judges not to issue a warrant of arrest for the senator.

The other court officials, justices, and judges invited to the committee hearing are:

  1. Associate Justice Antonio Carpio. SC
  2. Associate Justice Diosdado Peralta, SC
  3. Associate Justice Lucas Bersamin, SC
  4. Associate Justice Samuel Martires, SC
  5. Retired associate justice Adolfo Azcuna, Philippine Judicial Academy
  6. Associate Justice Geraldine Faith Econg, Sandiganbayan
  7. Associate Justice Zaldy Trespeses, Sandiganbayan
  8. Associate Justice Remedios Fernando, Court of Appeals
  9. Atty Midas Marquez, Office of the Court Administrator
  10. Judge Juanita Guerrero, Muntinlupa RTC
  11. Judge Ameila Fabros-Corpuz, Muntinlupa RTC
  12. Judge Patria Manalastas-De Leon, Muntinlupa RTC
  13. Judge Janet Samar, Quezon City Metropolitan Trial Court
  14. Atty Felipa Anama, SC Clerk of Court
  15. Atty Anna-Li Papa-Gombio, SC Deputy Clerk of coURT
  16. Atty Theodore Te, SC Public Information Office
  17. Atty Jocelyn Fabian, Chair of the Technical Working Group, Special Committee on Retirement and Civil Service Benefits
  18. Atty Czarina Samonte Villanueva, Office of the Chief Justice

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Lian Buan

Lian Buan covers justice and corruption for Rappler. She is interested in decisions, pleadings, audits, contracts, and other documents that establish a trail. If you have leads, email or tweet @lianbuan.