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Alvarez to Sereno: Defend yourself in House committee, not in media

Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and Supreme Court Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO/LYN RILLON, GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE

Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno. INQUIRER FILE PHOTOS / LYN RILLON, GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE

“Face the House justice committee, not the media.”

This appears to be the message of House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez as he urged once again Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno to appear before the House justice committee and face the impeachment proceedings against her, instead of coursing her defense through the media.

“Ang sinasabi ko, dahil nga hindi siya nag-aappear doon sa hearing, talagang paano niya didepensahan yung sarili niya hindi ba? Tapos maglalabas na lang siya ng mga statement sa media, hindi naman valid yun,” said Alvarez in a radio interview on Friday.

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(What am I saying is that she’s not attending the hearing so how can she defend herself, right? But then she will release statements to the media, which is invalid.)

When Sereno made a public appearance in a youth forum last Thursday, she maintained her innocence and vowed to resist calls for her to resign.

READ: Groups assemble for Sereno in UP

The latest witness against Sereno was Associate Justice Teresita Leonardo De Castro, who testified during the House proceedings, claiming Sereno tampered with a court document in 2013 and created a judicial office without the justices’ consent in 2012.

Sereno’s camp maintained that the chief magistrate’s actions were done in accordance with the law.

But Alvarez said Sereno should show up at the House hearings and defend herself in the proper forum.

The Chief Justice’s lawyers stopped attending the hearings after the committee prevented them from cross-examining the complainant and the witnesses against Sereno.

“Kaya kailangan talaga siyang pumunta doon para i-disprove yung mga allegations at yung mga ebidensya na inilahad laban sa kanya. Alam naman niya yan dahil abugado rin iyan, nagpa-practice,” Alvarez said.

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(That is why she needs to go there and disprove these allegations and evidence presented against her. She knows that because she’s also a lawyer, a practicing lawyer.) /jpv

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