MANILA, Philippines – Senators on Monday, December 4, hit lawyer Lorenzo Gadon and downplayed his claims that a tycoon is planning to bribe senators to acquit Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.
Senator Panfilo Lacson said Gadon is not reliable and should not be trusted, citing his inconsistencies in the House committee hearings on the impeachment complaint against the top magistrate.
“Huwag kayo maniwala masyado kay Attorney Gadon. Puro hearsay ang kanya, lalong hearsay pa ito. 'Yan nga [testimony] niya sa [House] puro hearsay. Ito chismis, lalong hearsay. Baka triple hearsay yan,” Lacson told reporters in an interview on Monday, December 4.
(Don't believe Attorney Gadon too much. He's pure hearsay, this is all the more hearsay. His testimony in the House is pure hearsay. This one is gossip, it's more hearsay. It's like triple hearsay.)
Lacson said Gadon is only trying to pressure senators to convict Sereno should the Senate convene as an impeachment court.
“In the first place, I haven't heard of anyone talking to a senator about this. Maybe this is his way to put the senators on the spot if and when the articles of impeachment will be transmitted to us. It's like he’s already putting us on the spot so that we convict rather than acquit,” Lacson said in a mix of Filipino and English.
Senator Grace Poe also denied the allegation and said no one tried to talk or bribe her.
“Alam mo sa tingin ko kung sinuman iyon, unang-una hindi totoo, sa akin hindi totoo iyon. Walang lumalapit para makipag-usap, at sa tingin ko, ang ating mga kababayan ay nagbabantay dito. Makikita ang pagkilos namin,” Poe said.
First of all, it's not true. No one approached me to talk and I think the public are warching. They can see our actions.)
Poe and Lacson said they would ask Gadon to reveal his sources once he appears before the Senate.
“Alam mo, dapat niyang sabihin kung sino ang sources niya. Unang-una ang dami na niyang mga inconsistencies tapos ilalabas pa niya iyan,” Poe said. (You know, he should say who his sources are. First of all, he already has numerous inconsistencies and now he's saying that.)
Gadon, in a statement on Monday, said he is “verifying information” that an oligarch has promised to bribe each senator of P200 million to acquit Sereno.
The camp of Sereno, however, said it is “another detestable lie.”
The House committee on justice is still hearing the complaint against Sereno. If the panel finds sufficient basis, it will be forwarded to the plenary where representatives will vote to approve or reject it.
If approved, the complaint would be transmitted to the Senate, where senators convene as an impeachment court to decide to acquit or convict Sereno. – Rappler.com
Camille Elemia is Rappler's lead reporter for media, disinformation, and democracy. She won an ILO award in 2017. She received the prestigious Fulbright-Hubert Humphrey fellowship in 2019, allowing her to further study media and politics in the US. Email firstname.lastname@example.org