Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno is seeking the right to cross-examine and confront the witnesses in the impeachment case filed against her, according to her camp.
“The House rules specifically provide for direct examination and cross-examination. Yun lamang po ang pinagbabasehan natin dito. (That will be our basis) The direct examination will be conducted by the complainant. For witnesses that the complainant will be presenting, yun lamang po ang hinihiling namin, ang makapagtanong (that is our only request—to be able to ask questions),” lawyer Anzen Dy told reporters after he submitted a letter from his client to the committee on justice at the House of Representatives on Thursday.
Sereno’s request stemmed from a statement by Rep. Reybaldo Umali of Oriental Mindoro, justice committee chairman, who said that cross-examination can be done at the Senate, when it sits as an impeachment court, and not at the House.
“At this point we trust that the honorable members of the House justice committee will apply all the provisions of the House rules and will accord the Chief Justice full rights to due process,” Dy said.
“If and when the House committee decides not to allow us to cross-examine the complainants’ witnesses, then we will take that up with the Chief Justice and decide on our course of action. As of this point, we have to trust the committee that it will, in fact, apply all the provisions of the House rules,” Dy said.
In a statement, lawyer Carlo Cruz, the official spokesman of Sereno, said that the House should be fair and follow its rule of allowing the Chief Justice to uphold her right to cross-examine the witnesses.
“Consistent with the fact that she has nothing to hide, she has adhered to her core values of transparency and respect for institutional processes. Despite the perjurious nature of the complaint and the dubious method of obtaining documents that may be used against her, she did not object to the Supreme Court’s release of these documents,” Cruz said in the statement.
“If Congress remains aligned with the objective of pursuing the truth and upholding due process and fairness, then it is likewise in their interest to uphold the Chief Justice and her legal team’s right to cross-examination,” Cruz added. RALPH EDWIN U. VILLANUEVA