TWO Supreme Court justices were no-show at the resumption of the impeachment hearing against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno in the House of Representatives on Monday.
Justices Marvic Leonen and Estela Perlas Bernabe had been requested as members of the Committee on Computerization and Library to shed light on the hiring of one Helen Macasaet as information technology consultant for P250,000 a month, as well as on other issues such as the SC’s computerization project.
Leonen and Bernabe said, however, in a letter to Justice Committee Chairman Rep. Reynado Umali of Oriental Mindoro that they would not have personal knowledge of Macasaet’s work as Sereno hired her long before they were appointed vice chairpersons of the computerization panel.
“Macasaet was already hired before July 2014 when the CCL was reorganized [and Leonen and Bernabe became members], so the justices had no personal knowledge on the matter or participation in the hiring of Ms. Macasaet,” Umali said.
Leonen and Bernabe, like Sereno, were appointed to the Supreme Court by former President Benigno Aquino 3rd.
Supreme Court Associate Justice Teresita de Castro questioned Sereno’s hiring of Macasaet to implement the Supreme Court’s Enterprise Information System Plan (EISP) even if she did not have a diploma in computer science or any IT-related course and her hiring was not approved by the Supreme Court en banc.
Lawyer Michael Ocampo, who works under the Office of the Chief Justice, defended Macasaet’s hiring by citing that it was based on extensive research and did not need the Supreme Court en banc’s approval since her contract was worth less than P2 million. LLANESCA T. PANTI