Sereno's Choice

MANILA, Philippines - Malacañang Sunday left to the discretion of Supreme Court (SC) Associate Justice Lourdes Sereno if she is willing to testify in the Senate impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato C. Corona.

Deputy Presidential Spokeswoman Abigail Valte acknowledged that only Sereno could elaborate on Corona's alleged partiality towards former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in the SC decision to issue a stay order on the travel ban on her last year.

Valte, however, conceded that Sereno must still abide by internal rules of the Supreme Court before she volunteers herself as a witness in the trial of Corona.

''From what we understand, there are internal rules of the Supreme Court to that effect and that will really depend on Justice Sereno,'' she said over government radio when asked if the Palace prefers Sereno to testify in the Corona trial.

The prosecution reportedly plans to ask the impeachment court to formally invite Sereno tO the Senate this week.

An invitation is reportedly an alternative to the subpoena which the Senate impeachment court had rejected in deference to the co-equal branch of government.

Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile said the matter will be discussed by the 23 senator-judges in a caucus Monday as he stressed that ''written interrogatories is a remedy for either the defense or prosecution panel.''

Senator Antonio Trillanes IV had proposed to send written interrogatories to Sereno presumptively to elicit more information on the SC's en banc decision.

''From what we saw last week, she wrote a very - how do we say it to put it mildly- a very scathing dissenting opinion. As to the truth or the accuracy of those statements, only Justice Sereno can confirm that. It will be dependent entirely on the Justice herself and also on the en banc of the Supreme Court,'' she added.

The House prosecution panel cited the need for Sereno to testify in the trial to shed light on the circumstances behind the issuance of the Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) against a travel ban on former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

House prosecutors-Citizens' Battle Against Corruption party-list Rep. Sherwin Tugna, Oriental Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo Umali, Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Neri Colmenares and their spokesman, Marikina Rep. Miro Quimbo said Sereno would be the best person to explain the alleged irregularities in the issuance of the TRO that favored Mrs. Arroyo.

''Her attendance is very important. Interrogatories to parties cannot equate with her actual testimony because only she can shed light on the alleged wrongdoings committed by the Chief Justice in using his power and influence in the issuance of the TRO and to make it appear that it is immediately executory,'' Tugna said.

Umali agreed with his colleague, saying that Sereno's appearance before the impeachment court would prove that Justice Secretary Leila de Lima's testimony on irregularities cited by Sereno in her dissenting opinion on the TRO issued by the High Court last Nov. 15 was not ''hearsay.''

''It's important in the sense that testimony of Secretary Leila will no longer be considered hearsay. While, it is just a dissenting opinion, it exposed the internal weaknesses of our judicial system, especially when headed by a chief justice who is morally unfit to lead the judicial department,'' he said.

Valte noted that Enrile has already ruled the testimony of Justice Secretary Leila de Lima on Sereno's dissenting opinion as mere hearsay.

''As to the truth or the accuracy of the fact as narrated by Secretary De Lima, as found in the dissenting opinion of Justice Sereno, it remains to be seen,'' she said.

But there are still reservations, on the part of some senator-judges, because the impeachment court may be accused of engaging in a ''fishing expedition'' should it decide to invite Sereno.

Colmenares, lead prosecutor for Article VII, which accuses Corona of betraying public trust for issuing the TRO against the travel ban on Mrs. Arroyo, stressed ''there will be no double standard in the search for the truth about Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona.''

The progressive solon said he has faith in the Impeachment Court that it would subpoena or at least invite Sereno.

For the prosecution, Sereno's testimony is supposedly crucial bolster Article 7 that accuses Corona of betrayal of public trust for allegedly granting a TRO against the travel on Arroyo so she can escape abroad.

The defense team of Corona plans to reject the testimony of Sereno, saying that deliberations of the high court are confidential and she must still get the consent of the SC.

In her testimony last week, De Lima cited the irregularities pointed out by Sereno in her dissenting opinion on the high court's issued TRO last Nov. 15, 2011.

Since Enrile has decided to dismiss De Lima's testimony as hearsay but allowed it to remain as part of the court's records, Trillanes raised the possibility of getting the court to invite Sereno to shed more information on the controversial ruling.

Enrile said the matter will be discussed by the 23 senator-judges in a caucus, Monday as he stressed that ''written interrogatories is a remedy for either the defense or prosecution panel.''

''I'm not sure how the members of the impeachment court should go about this,'' Enrile said in a recent interview adding that he has to study impeachment rules.

''Hindi ko nga malaman kung pwede yun sa mga members of the court na moto propio yung mismong yung huwes ang umorder ng written interrogatories (I don't know if the members of the court moto propio should allow that the court itself order for the written interrogatories),'' the presiding officer added.

But if the prosecution wants to send written questionnaires, the Senate President said ''they have to file the motion.'' ''Hindi pwedeng susulat lang, mag mo motion sila. Iyon ang tanda ko sa impeachment rules.''

But the Supreme Court, which also has the right to exercise judicial privilege especially on, has the option to refuse the written interrogatories. (With reports from Charissa M. Luci)

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Lupita Nyong'o's $150,000 Oscars dress stolen from hotel
    Lupita Nyong'o's $150,000 Oscars dress stolen from hotel

    The $150,000 pearl-studded, custom-made Calvin Klein dress worn by Oscar-winning actress Lupita Nyong'o at this year's Academy Awards has been stolen, police said on Thursday. The gown, embellished with 6,000 natural white pearls, was stolen from Nyong'o's room at the London Hotel in West Hollywood, during the day on Wednesday, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department in West Hollywood said. "Ms Nyong'o was not in the room at the time of the theft," Deputy John Mitchell …

  • US-led strikes on IS after group seizes 220 Christians
    US-led strikes on IS after group seizes 220 Christians

    The US-led coalition has carried out air strikes against the Islamic State group in northeastern Syria, where the jihadists have launched a new offensive and kidnapped 220 Assyrian Christians. The raids on Thursday struck areas around the town of Tal Tamr in Hasakeh province, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, without giving information on possible casualties. The town remains under the control of Kurdish forces, but at least 10 surrounding villages have been seized by IS, along …

  • Militants abduct more Christians, smash ancient artifacts
    Militants abduct more Christians, smash ancient artifacts

    BEIRUT (AP) — Islamic State militants seized more Christians from their homes in northeastern Syria in the past three days, bringing the total number abducted by the extremist group to over 220, activists said Thursday. …

  • 3 Pinays on Forbes power women list
    3 Pinays on Forbes power women list

    Three Filipina executives, who are all daughters of known business tycoons in the country, made it to Forbes’ list of the 50 most powerful businesswomen in Asia. Teresita Sy-Coson, vice chairman of SM Investments and chairman of BDO Universal Bank, was included in the list for the fourth year in a row since its inception. “Under her (Sy-Coson) lead SMIC became the largest listed company on the Philippine Stock Exchange by market cap. Also in the 2015 list is 70-year-old Helen Yuchengco-Dee, …

  • 13 of 15 SAF survivors to leave PNP hospital
    13 of 15 SAF survivors to leave PNP hospital

    Thirteen of the 15 Special Action Force (SAF) policemen who survived the bloody firefight with Muslim rebels in Mamasapano last month are ready to go home after a month of medical treatment, a police official said yesterday. Philippine National Police (PNP) spokesman Chief Superintendent Generoso Cerbo Jr. said the two remaining survivors will have to stay in hospital for further treatment, one of whom has shrapnel embedded near his spine. One of the two SAF commando survivors is still …

  • US sends spy plane to patrol disputed sea
    US sends spy plane to patrol disputed sea

    The United States has deployed its newest and most advanced surveillance aircraft for patrols over the West Philippine Sea and South China Sea. The P-8A Poseidon aircraft completed more than 180 flight hours from Feb. 1 to 21 from Clark Air Base, according to the US Navy’s 7th Fleet. …

  • Review: SKK Mobile V2, a P3,999 watered-down LG G2
    Review: SKK Mobile V2, a P3,999 watered-down LG G2

    How well does this P3,999 offering from an underdog in the local mobile industry stack up against the competition? Let's find out. …

  • No coercion, force in sea row – France
    No coercion, force in sea row – France

    France renewed its call for a peaceful resolution of the West Philippine Sea dispute during a meeting between its leader President Francois Hollande and President Aquino at Malacañang. “We reiterated the importance of maintaining peace and stability in Southeast Asia and promoting maritime security, freedom of navigation and the peaceful settlement of disputes in accordance with international law, including UNCLOS (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea),” Aquino said in a statement …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options