MANILA, Philippines – Take it from the man who once had to defend an impeachment complaint he did not even sign.
House Majority Leader Ilocos Norte Representative Rodolfo Fariñas on Thursday, August 3, advised a lawyer who wants to file an impeachment complaint against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno to find better documents to back up his petition.
Lawyer Larry Gadon, one-time legal counsel of former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, was set to file on Wednesday, August 2 a impeachment complaint against Sereno. His plan didn’t push through however, after he was unable to find a lawmaker willing to endorse his complaint right away.
If a non-member files an impeachment complaint before the House of Representatives, it must be endorsed by a legislator.
Fariñas, in a statement, said Gadon visited him in his office.
“I told Atty. Gadon when he came to my office yesterday that his allegations must substantially comply with his Verification that they are of his own personal knowledge and/or culled from authentic records,” said Fariñas, who was part of the prosecution panel during the impeachment trial of former SC Chief Justice Renato Corona.
“There are attachments to his complaint that are newspaper reports, so I advised him to get certified true copies of the SC orders or circulars that he is alleging to be parts of his causes of action,” said the majority leader.
“If the SC will not give him copies of the SALN of the Chief Justice, or the JBC her alleged psychiatric report or the BIR her ITRs, the Committee on Justice could subpoena them, if and when it reaches that stage of the impeachment proceedings,” added Fariñas, who promised to subject the complaint to “the same scrutiny” as with an earlier impeachment complaint against President Rodrigo Duterte.
“Atty. Gadon, or any other complainant for Impeachment, should comply with his Verification for at least a substantial portion of his allegations especially those that are readily available as they are public documents or records,” he said.
Fariñas, then part of the Liberal Part-led majority during the Corona impeachment, admitted than that the complaint against the former chief justice was poorly crafted. Still, the Senate found Corona guilty after a months-long trial.
Gadon wants Sereno impeached over a P5 million vehicle purchase at the Supreme Court and for allegedly failing to declare millions in income from her years as a private lawyer.
Speaking to reporters Wednesday, Gadon said at least one lawmaker was willing to endorse his complaint, provided other lawmakers endorse it as well. He refused to say who the lawmaker was.