Filtered By: Topstories

Sereno camp considers seeking redress from SC vs. impeachment case

The lawyers of Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno said they are "strongly considering" seeking redress from the Supreme Court over her impeachment case after the House justice committee barred them from cross-examining witnesses against the top magistrate.

"That is still something we are seriously considering ... we will not close the door, we will not rule out that kind of route or avenue given by law," said Sereno lawyer-spokesperson Aldwin Salumbides at a news briefing in Quezon City on Saturday.

But such a move would be the camp's "last recourse" after they exhaust all possible administrative actions, said lawyer-spokesperson Joshua Santiago.

If their plans for the elevation of the case to the High Court would come to fruition, the lawyers said they would raise alleged violations to Sereno's "fundamental" and elementary" rights to counsel and for her lawyers to cross-examine witnesses.

"Why does there seem to be a radical departure from what is fundamental, from what is supposedly elementary and understood by all?" Salumbides said.

The Chief Justice would recuse herself from any such case that would be elevated to the Supreme Court, said Santiago.

Likewise, he said that Sereno’s legal team may make this move depending on what happens in the next few days—hearings are set for three days in a row next week.

“We need to discern first where this is going,” he told reporters, adding that they still have to exhaust administrative remedies.

“If nothing happens talaga, you tried to appeal, you followed the process, but still there’s grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction…[kung] hindi na nakabatay sa batas yung pagpapasya ay pwede nang i-elevate sa Supreme Court, Santiago said.

They earlier said they did not yet have to plans to resort to this legal remedy.

Last Wednesday's hearing saw members of the House Committee on Justice vote to deny Sereno's lawyers what they claim to be their right to cross-examine witnesses who would testify against her.

Also during the hearing, committee members grilled lawyer-complainant Lorenzo "Larry" Gadon on the basis and strength of his allegations against Sereno.

Sereno is being accused of culpable violation of the Constitution, corruption, other high crimes and betrayal of public trust.

The impeachment complaint against her has been determined sufficient in form, substance and grounds and is now being heard for the determination of probable cause.

The next hearing will take place on Monday, November 27. —LBG, GMA News