Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno will not resign and will face the “false charges” contained in an impeachment complaint against her by lawyer Lorenzo Gadon.
Lawyers for Sereno submitted to the House Committee on Justice on Monday the chief justice’s 85-page verified answer to Gadon’s complaint, arguing that the alleged offenses were not impeachable or were based on “fake news.”
“She will fight this to the end and more. She will stay on,” said Jojo Lacanilao, in a news conference in Quezon City.
“This is totally outrageous because not only are the charges totally false, they ignore what the chief justice has achieved for the judiciary and for the country as chief justice,” Lacanilao added.
Winnie Salumbres, a spokesperson for the chief justice, said Sereno was peaceful and at ease. “She is a picture of serenity because she knows in conscience she never did anything wrong,” Salumbres said.
Sereno’s camp submitted her reply 10 days after the Gadon complaint, which accused the chief justice of culpable violations of the Constitution, corruption, betrayal of public trust and other high crimes, was deemed by the House justice committee “sufficient in form and substance.”
Lawyer Alex Poblador said that although most of Gadon’s documents were authentic, these did not support any of the charges.
“What is left with the allegations of Attorney Gadon? They are merely newspaper reports, hearsay. The complaint should not have come to this stage, it should have been dismissed from the very start,” Poblador said.
“The House Committee on Justice has a second opportunity to appreciate the answer and it is our hope that they should now dismiss this case for lack of sufficient grounds and probable cause,” Poblador added.
Poblador also defended Sereno’s purchase of a bullet-proof Toyota Land Cruiser 200 valued at roughly P5 million, which, according to Gadon’s complaint.
Poblador said that the vehicle Sereno was using prior to the acquisition was a “hand-me-down” from earlier chief justices, and constantly broke down.
As a result, Sereno had a bullet-proof blanket taped on one window of the car and a bullet-proof vest.
“The acquisition of the Toyota Land Cruiser is a non-issue, much less a ground for impeachment,” Poblador said.