Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno. FILE PHOTO
Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno dismissed on Monday as “pure fabrication” the impeachment complaint filed against her, as he warned complainant and lawyer Larry Gadon of perjury.
Sereno said Gadon’s allegations were perjurious because they were “not based on personal knowledge.”
“I think Atty. Gadon has and will have many problems arising from the fact that he has perjured himself multiple times,” Sereno said in an interview with ABS-CBN’s Headstart.
She said Gadon could get into trouble for spreading lies against her.
“I don’t know how he can come and execute a verified complaint and say that he knows as a matter of personal knowledge all the allegations that he has said against me, and there are so many things that he’s saying against me,” she said.
“On many accounts those points are actually perjurious because I don’t know him at all; I never met him,” she added. “I don’t know how he came up with all of those allegations about my life and I haven’t even met him a single moment,” she added.
The chief magistrate said she was ready to face the impeachment proceedings but maintained that the burden of proof lies on Gadon.
“I’m ready in any proceeding to prove my innocence. What is happening is actually wrong already because all the onus is being given to me,” she said.
“Parang patunayan mo na malinis ka, samantalang wala pa namang napapatunayan si Atty. Gadon ni isang impeachable offense,” she added.
She challenged Gadon to present evidence on the 27 allegations filed against her as she key allegations in the impeachment complaint, including misdeclaration of Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth, excessive use of judiciary funds, falsification of court resolutions, manipulation of processes in the Judicial and Bar Council and the question on her fitness to lead the judiciary.
“Alin po ba sa 27 alegasyon niya ang impeachable? Hindi po ba dapat na sya (Gadon) [ang unang magprisenta ng ebidensya sa] kung ano ba ang karumal-dumal na ginawa ko para sabihing pinagtaksilan ko ang taumbayan at dapat akong tanggalin sa aking pwesto?” she said.
Sereno said the impeachment complaint against her was not only an attack on her but to the judiciary and on democarcy as well.
“[The impeachment proceeding] is getting to be larger than myself. This is no longer just about me. It is about our democracy,” she said.
If she gets impeached, she said, anyone in the country could be accused based on lies and be denied of his or her basic constitutional rights.
“If they can do this to the Chief Justice —fabricate charges—I’m not saying that, but some say—if they can do this to the Chief Justice and deny her of her basic constitutional rights, who is safe in this country?” she said.
She said the with the fabricated impeachment complaint against her, the judiciary and even ordinary citizens were not safe.
“If a Chief Justice, who can be accused of these allegations which are even false, will be removed from office, is there any judge or justice in this country who is safe? Is the judiciary safe? And if the judiciary is not safe, is democracy safe?” she said.
“Are the constitutional rights of people still assured? Because everyone says that the only way you can assure the rights of people is if you have a virtuous and independent judiciary,” she added.
The Chief Justice reiterated tha she was ready to answer the allegations against her, which she described as a bunch of lies” and “petty things.”
She said the allegations contained in her impeachment complaint “pure intrigue” and others were “pure fabrication of events that never even happened in the remotest possibility.”
“I look forward, mga kababayan, na masabi ko sa inyo ang katotohanan kasi wala naman ho talaga akong itinatago,” she said.
Asked about how she was coping with the impeachment case filed against her, she said said it was “not that difficult because my conscience is clear.”
“You know it is not difficult for me in a sense because I just have to keep on telling the truth,” she said.
“Actually, those who are opposing me they’re the ones who have a very complicated life now. Mahirap yata magsinungaling na kaya nilang patunayan. That would be extremely difficult,” she added. /kga