Sereno asks House panel to junk impeachment complaint

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 28) — Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno's camp on Thursday filed a letter to the House Committee on Justice requesting to dismiss the impeachment complaint against her in the next hearing.

"She maintains that the complaint is baseless, malicious, based of conflated hearsay. It's even contrived. It is a purveyor of fake news," said Jose Deinla, one of Sereno's lawyers.

The committee will once again meet to determine if the complaint filed by Larry Gadon has sufficient grounds.

If the grounds are found sufficient, the committee will then hold hearings, where witnesses and evidence will be presented, to determine probable cause to impeach Sereno.

Sereno's lawyers are also asking permission to cross-examine witnesses during the hearings, which is allowed in the House rules.

"If the complainant would be allowed to present witnesses and direct exmainations will be conducted, hindi po ba patas lamang po na ang Chief Justice ay mapapayagan rin naman na makapag-cross examine ng witnesses? (Isn't it fair that the Chief Justice is allowed to cross-examine the witnesses?)," said Anzen Dy, one of Sereno's lawyers.

House Justice Committee Chairman Rey Umali says the committee has to approve this request, as the measure may be junked unless Sereno herself will do the cross-examination.

"We will not allow the lawyers to speak directly to do cross-examination because that is not allowed by the rules of the House. Only the resource persons, in this case the respondent, in my own interpretation of our own rules, may be allowed to do that," Umali said.

Gadon, meanwhile, said he and other witnesses are ready for cross-examination by Sereno and her lawyers.

"Walang problema dahil ako ang complainant, I'll be happy to shed light on the allegations in my complaint…I'll be ready to present them para dyan palang sa House mapatunayan na," Gadon said.

[Translation: There's no problem because I'm the complainant, I'll be happy to shed light on the allegations in my complaint…I'll be ready to present them so we could prove it even in the House.]

Gadon said at least six Supreme Court Justices and several court employees expressed intent to testify against Sereno.