Chief Justice Lourdes Sereno. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO
Are the accusers of Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno still fishing for evidence?
The pro-Duterte Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) and the Vanguard of the Philippine Constitution Inc. (VPCI) on Friday requested the Supreme Court to release several documents to bolster the impeachment complaint they filed against Sereno in the House of Representatives.
Among the documents they wanted to secure were copies of the high court’s resolutions in two cases and the chief magistrate’s appointment of lawyer Solomon Lumba as her staff member.
They also wanted a copy of the letter of Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio withdrawing his signature approving Lumba’s designation.
In addition, the VACC and VPCI asked the 15-member tribunal for the copies of Sereno’s other administrative orders which were questioned by Senior Associate Justice Teresita Leonardo de Castro.
“This request is being made in connection with the impeachment complaint against… Sereno,” read the letter signed by VACC founding chair Dante Jimenez and VPCI president Eligio Mallari.
Jimenez, a known supporter of President Duterte, and Mallari brought the impeachment complaint against the chief magistrate on Wednesday, but they failed to convince any lawmaker to endorse it.
Manuelito Luna, the petitioners’ lawyer, said Sereno should be held liable for culpable violation of the Constitution for hiring members of his staff and for issuing administrative orders without the concurrence of her colleagues.
“A patent disregard of the Supreme Court en banc’s authority is a violation of the Constitution,” Luna told reporters after submitting the letter-request.
“This is a grave constitutional offense which you can imagine under the circumstances and there’s also a culpable violation of the Constitution because… she continuously ignored the en banc and granted allowances to her own staff without court’s approval,” he added.
In seeking Sereno’s ouster, Jimenez and Mallari claimed she “disregarded” the decision of the whole tribunal in at least five instances and that she opted not to “fill vacancies without consulting other justices.”
Lawyer Lorenzo Gadon filed a separate impeachment complaint against the Chief Justice, accusing her of failing to declare P37 million in lawyer’s fees she allegedly earned as government counsel in an arbitration case.
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