MANILA, Philippines – "A litany of lamentable lies and lame logic."
Lawyer Larry Gadon, complainant in an impeachment case against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, filed on Thursday, September 28, a reply to her answers to his complaint against her.
In a nutshell, the lawyer insisted that Sereno lied in her 84-page reply, which her legal team filed earlier this week. (READ: How Sereno answered her impeachment complaint)
Gadon's complaint had earlier been deemed sufficient in form and substance by the House committee on justice. The lawyer wants Sereno, who retires in 2030 yet, out of office for supposedly lying in her Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN) and making decisions without the Supreme Court (SC) en banc's knowledge, among other things.
Sereno's legal team said Gadon's supposed evidence do not support his allegations. They also argued that the allegations are not impeachable offenses.
The word "lie" was mentioned at least 31 times in Gadon's 29-page reply titled "More Lies, More Lies and More Lies of Maria Lourdes… (as Verified Reply to her Verified Answer)."
The bulk of Gadon's complaint concerns Sereno's actions which were disputed by her fellow justices. Sereno's team said those issues "relate to disagreement among justices as to the extent of the administrative power of the Chief Justice" but do not amount to graft. Associate Justice Teresita Leonardo-de Castro's memorandum against Sereno is still pending before the SC en banc.
In his reply, Gadon said Sereno was lying in her denials and explanations.
"Sereno falsified no less than three (3) Supreme Court resolutions by making it appear that the contents of these resolutions were agreed upon by, and reflect the final consensus of the Court En Banc, when in fact, they do not. That the resolutions are supposedly based on Respondent Sereno's notes does not necessarily mean that her notes reflect the actual consensus reached by the Court En Banc because what she writes down as her notes are her views, and not the prevailing views as voted upon by the majority of the members of the Court," said Gadon.
Gadon also insisted that Sereno was at fault for the apparent delay in the release of retirement benefits for justices, judges, or their surviving spouses. The lawyer said Sereno "could have easily expedited the resolution of these urgent applications, if only she were in her right senses." The Chief Justice had said the applications should pass through a process before these are endorsed to her office or the SC en banc.
Gadon also said Sereno was lying when she said her SALN was truthful. Sereno's team argued that her earnings from the PIATCO case came in before she was appointed to the SC and had already been spent – at least partially – by the time she entered in 2010. Gadon did not expound on this claim as much but said Sereno would "seriously be refuted during the evidentiary hearing."
The lawyer, who once ran for a Senate seat, also rebutted Sereno's reply to other allegations including the travel of her staff, a vehicle she purchased using SC funds, appointment of key officials, and other actions.
"From her present actuations, it is evident that power, authority and extravagance have gone to her head. She has considered her lonesome self as the Supreme Court En Banc," said Gadon, as he concluded his reply.
Talking to reporters after he filed his reply, Gadon said he was confident that his complaint would pass the committee's scrutiny when it votes on whether there is sufficient grounds for impeachment. (READ: CJ Sereno asks lawmakers to choose democracy over partisan interest)
Responding to Sereno's earlier request that her legal team be allowed to cross-examine Gadon's witnesses, the lawyer said he – and his witnesses – are ready. (READ: CJ Sereno's band of lawyers in her impeachment case) – Rappler.com