House Speaker: I won't allow Sereno lawyers to cross-examine witnesses

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House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, and Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno. (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 11) — Only questions from the Chief Justice herself — and not her lawyers — will be allowed during impeachment hearings if the House Speaker would have his way.

House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez said he will not allow Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno's lawyers' to cross-examine witnesses presented during the proceedings.

"Si Sereno ang mag-appear dito. Bakit abogado? Impeachment trial niya ito. Ito ay may impeachment complaint na ni-file sa kanya. Dapat siya ang sumagot, hindi ba siya abogado? Chief Justice pa nga siya e," Alvarez said Wednesday.

[Translation: Sereno should be here. Why the need for a lawyer? This is her impeachment trial. This is due to the complaint filed against her. She should answer. Is she not a lawyer? She's the Chief Justice.]

Sereno's lawyers earlier asked the Justice Committee to allow them to confront and cross examine witnesses once witnesses in the committee hearings.

"It's really unfair to the Chief Justice because they're practically not giving her any right to cross-examine by her counsel. So that's just very worrisome for us and we would like to appeal to the congressmen to actually rethink that because what we want is the truth, we want fairness," Jojo Lacanilao, one of Sereno's lawyers, told CNN Philippines' The Source Tuesday.

READ: Chief Justice's lawyers reiterate appeal to cross-examine witnesses

Sereno and her lawyers earlier sent a letter to the Justice Committee and asserted their right to question witnesses in the hearings. Complainant Larry Gadon says three associate justices may testify against the Chief Justice.

Sereno's lawyers said their right to cross-examine is in the rules.

The 17th Congress rules on impeachment proceedings read, "The committee, through the chairperson, may limit the period of examination and cross-examination. The committee shall have the power to issue compulsory processes for the attendance of witnesses and the production of documents and other related evidence."

If the committee finds probable cause, it will send a report to the plenary. A vote of at least one-third of the members of the House of Representatives, or 98 out of the 292 lawmakers, will result in a trial at the Senate, sitting as the Impeachment Court.

CNN Philippines' Joyce Ilas, Chad de Guzman, and Eimor Santos contributed to this report.