A senior reporter of The Manila Times will testify today at the resumption of hearings by the House of Representatives on an impeachment case against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.
Jomar Canlas himself on Sunday confirmed that he would show up before the House Committee on Justice for the continuation of deliberations on the bid to legally remove the Chief Justice from the High Court.
Canlas’ name was dragged into the impeachment deliberations after the complainant, lawyer Larry Gadon, last week admitted that he had based his allegations of Sereno falsifying key documents on the reporter’s articles that were published in The Manila Times.
Gadon said he had asked employees of the Supreme Court (SC) for confirmation of his allegations.
He later pointed to SC Associate Justice Teresita de Castro as Canlas’ source, which claim de Castro strongly denied.
”I have never released to Jomar Canlas any information, report or document regarding the work of the court,” the associate justice said on Wednesday in a statement released to reporters.
Justice committee chairman and Oriental Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo Umali said Gadon might be liable for perjury since he made the allegations under oath.
Canlas had been previously issued a show-cause order by the Supreme Court for reporting insider information.
Aside from him, all justices of the Supreme Court had been invited to the committee hearing in a motion by Dinagat Islands Rep. Arlene Bag-ao also on Wednesday.
Bag-ao’s motion was unanimously approved by all lawmakers present at the hearing.
In an interview with radio dzBB on Sunday morning, Umali said if the need arises, the committee might subpoena Sereno herself and if she snubs it, a warrant of arrest may be issued against her.
A lawyer for Sereno earlier submitted two letters and a motion addressed to the House Committee on Justice seeking Sereno’s right to counsel and right to cross-examination, which was denied by members of the panel during last week’s hearing.
This prompted the counsel of Sereno to walk out of the hearing.
The justice committee is determining the probable cause of every single one of the 27 acts of corruption, culpable violation of the Constitution, betrayal of public trust and other high crimes that the Chief Justice is being accused of by Gadon.
The committee aims to finish the deliberations of the impeachment complaint by December 9 and pass it for plenary voting on December 13.