Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno has dismissed as a mere plot “to maximize the political spectacle” the impeachment complaint filed against her at the House of Representatives.
Through her spokesperson, Atty. Carlo Cruz, the Chief Justice insisted that there is no truth to the allegations hurled against her in the impeachment case, even saying that the accusations were unsupported by evidence and mainly relying on hearsay or news clippings.
“We maintain that, contrary to the findings of the House Committee on Justice, none of the allegations in the complaints is true,” Cruz said on Wednesday.
“The complaints against her seem designed to maximize the political spectacle, with the goal of eroding her credibility…This is detrimental to the independence of the judiciary upon whom all citizens rely to defend their rights and to check any abuse,” Cruz added.
Cruz also noted that Congress’ action on the impeachment case versus Sereno is inconsistent with their past actions in similar proceedings.
Cruz said the Office of the Chief Justice is waiting for the transmission of the complaints through official channels before availing herself of the appropriate legal remedies.
“In the meantime, the Chief Justice continues to discharge her duties with fairness, integrity and humility… Chief Justice Sereno has always lived a modest, god-fearing lifestyle. She has followed her oath of office and conducted herself with strict faithfulness to that oath,” Cruz said.
On Wednesday, the House Committee on Justice found the impeachment complaint filed by Atty. Larry Gadon sufficient in form and substance.
Gadon accused Sereno of culpable violation of the Constitution, corruption, other high crimes and betrayal of public trust.
He accused Sereno of failing to declare in her Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN) the “exhorbitant lawyer’s fees” amounting to P37 million (roughly US$745,000), which she allegedly received from the Philippine government.
Gadon said the issue of SALN declaration is the strongest case presented against the chief justice.
The complaint also alleged that Sereno committed corruption when she, among other things, used public funds to finance her extravagant and lavish lifestyle by ordering the purchase of a brand-new Toyota Land Cruiser 2017 model as her personal vehicle. The luxury SUV reportedly costs more than P5 million.
The complaints further alleged that Sereno stayed in lavish hotels when attending conferences here and abroad. /kga
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