Sereno fighting impeach raps for sake of judicial independence – spokesperson

MANILA, Sept 15 (Mabuhay) – Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno’s decision to fight the impeachment complaint against her is not just because she wanted to keep her job.

“She needs to face these charges for the sake of the independence of the judiciary and of her and her family’s reputation,” said Sereno’s spokesperson, lawyer Carlo Cruz, in a text message on Friday.

Cruz also maintained that Sereno has no plans of quitting her post after Lorenzo “Larry” Gadon, who filed the impeachment complaint before the House of Representatives, advised her to resign supposedly to avoid the humiliation and the inconvenience of an impeachment trial.

Among the issues raised against Sereno were her alleged questionable administrative orders, frequent foreign travels and grant of allowance to Sereno’s top aide and other staff members without Court en banc approval, alleged anomalous purchase of a luxury vehicle, and undeclared earnings from her stint as part of the government’s legal team in the expropriation case against the Philippine International Air Terminals Co. Inc. (Piatco).

“I have very strong grounds and documents to prove my allegations. She better think it over. You cannot [stop] the members of Congress from asking questions, questions that may even be off tangent just to attack her. They will really tear you apart,” Gadon said in a television interview on Thursday.

Sereno’s camp found the complaint baseless even as it hoped that Congress will decide based on the merits, and affirm their commitment to democracy over partisan or parochial interests.

Malacañang, for its part, said it would not meddle in the impeachment process even as President Rodrigo Duterte hinted at Sereno’s alleged expensive taste when traveling, saying in a speech on September 9 that the top magistrate is running the high court like a private law firm.

Duterte also criticized Sereno in August last year when she advised judges implicated by the president in the illegal drug trade not to surrender in the absence of an arrest warrant.(MNS)

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