Sereno sends regrets
MANILA, Philippines - Supreme Court Associate Justice Ma Lourdes Sereno has told the prosecution panel that since it has already rested its case in the Corona impeachment trial, this move already superseded the invitation sent to her.
Rappler gathered from informed sources that Sereno sent a letter to Prosecutor Rep Neri Colmenares on Thursday, March 1 declining the invitation in the wake of the prosecution's decision to rest its case. (See full text of her letter below.)
On Tuesday, February 28, the prosecution rested its case. But it was also on that day that Colmenares sent a letter of invitation to the associate justice.
On Wednesday, February 29, Chief Prosecutor Rep Niel Tupas Jr tried to ask the impeachment court to grant them leeway to allow Sereno to testify even if they had already rested their case, a move that Presiding Officer Juan Ponce Enrile rejected. Tupas chose to accept Enrile's verdict.
This has made Colmenares unhappy.
Bayan Muna upset
Renato Reyes of Bayan, an affiliate of Bayan Muna party to which Colmenares belongs, sent a text message expressing the party's dismay.
Reyes said: "We are utterly dismayed that lead prosecutor Niel Tupas single-handedly shut the door to any possibility of Justice Sereno testifying before the impeachment court." Reyes said Tupas bungled an opportunity "to present an important witness on the alleged partiality of Corona towards GMA."
Reyes said that the panel's decision has rendered moot Sereno's response to Colmenares's invitation.
"This raises the question, was the LP-led prosecution ever serious in taking up the GMA-Corona issue? Or is it just a token issue in the impeachment? Why is it we feel they are not fully supporting Rep. Neri Colmenares and his team?"
Sereno wrote a stinging dissenting opinion in the SC verdict on former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's request to travel abroad. She accused Corona of manuevering his way to get the Court rule in Arroyo's favor.
The Senate has refused to issue her a subpoena, asking the prosecution to invite her instead.
The High Tribunal has also issued a majority resolution barring justices and employees from testifying before the impeachment court. Sereno dissented.- Rappler.com
(Prosecutor Neri Colmenares read to Rappler the short letter of Supreme Court Associate Justice Ma Lourdes Sereno sending her regrets to the prosecution panel's invitation.)
29 February 2012
DEAR HONARABLE PROSECUTOR NERI COLMENARES,
Thank you for the invitation that my office received at noon yesterday from the prosecution panel of the House of Representatives ato appear as its witness on 01 March 2012 in the ongoing impeachment proceedings.
I understand, however, that the termination of the presentation of evidence by the Prosecution Panel yesterday and reiterated today before the impeachment court has superseded your invitation.
Please accept my most respectful regards.
MA LOURDES P. A. SERENO