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SC Justice De Castro denies giving info to journalist

Supreme Court Associate Justice Teresita Leonardo-De Castro on Wednesday denied lawyer Lorenzo "Larry" Gadon's claim that she provided information to a veteran print journalist in connection with a stay order against further proclaiming party-list race winners in the May 2013 elections.

“I have never released to Jomar Canlas any information, report, or document regarding the work of the Court," De Castro said, referring to the senior reporter from The Manila Times.

De Castro's statement came after Gadon told the House justice committee hearing the impeachment complaint against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno that Canlas was his source of information regarding De Castro's accusations against the top magistrate.

According to Gadon, De Castro confirmed to Canlas that she contested the temporary restraining order (TRO) issued by Sereno on behalf of the SC on May 29, 2013, accusing the chief magistrate of omitting her recommendation to stop the disqualification of Senior Citizens party-list only, and not the party-list proclamation itself.

Sereno’s TRO was not ratified by her colleagues during the SC's special session on June 5, 2013 as the justices decided to issue a status quo ante order on the disqualification of Senior Citizens.

The House justice committee has already directed Canlas to appear in future hearings.

For Sereno's camp, Gadon's admission that he based his information from Canlas, "is clearly a violation of the hearsay rule."

"In fact, when Atty. Gadon stated that Associate Justice De Castro relayed the information to Canlas and that Canlas presumably relayed it to him, that should be considered a double hearsay. Thus, Atty. Gadon is even twice removed from the alleged real source of information," said lawyer Josa Deinla, one of the chief justice's spokespersons.

Sereno's lawyers earlier urged the House panel to expedite its proceedings and transmit the articles of impeachment to the Senate if lawmakers believe there is a strong case against the top magistrate. — MDM, GMA News