Does the House committee have the goods?
The year 2018 confronts us with more questions than answers, foremost among which is whether the members of the House justice committee seeking to impeach Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno still believe they have the goods to transmit the impeachment complaint of lawyer Larry Gadon to the Senate.
As we watch the hearings, it has become quite noticeable that Gadon had been lying publicly over several baseless claims while being used by associate justices and members of the House of Representatives as a sacrificial goat for their own personal and political agenda.
The question, “Is Larry Gadon the complainant here?” was raised a few times in the hearing.
The complaints evidently came from Associate Justice Teresita de Castro and Court Administrator Midas Marquez who admitted they have been personally hurt and disappointed by CJ Sereno over administrative matters within the Supreme Court.
De Castro’s acting hasn’t been convincing enough; the fact she was rejected twice as candidate to become chief justice suggests resentment rather than a sincere conviction to uphold justice. We wonder what legacy she wants to leave, especially since her term ends this year.
Her pursuit is clearly self-serving, to unseat CJ Sereno, around the time she steps down as an embittered justice; sort of crab-mentality, largely from envy of the youngest and first woman chief magistrate.
It infuriates most of us when questions are raised on why the Chief Justice sat in business class aboard the same flight taken by Marquez who sat in economy, as though Gadon would like to be equal to the President.
Also, when the University of the Philippines confirmed CJ Sereno was on leave in years she did not have to declare her statement of assets, liabilities and net worth, committee chair Rep. Reynaldo Umali and Deputy Speaker Gwendolyn Garcia did not even recognize the frivolous and petty grievances of the complainant; instead, they proceeded in haste to the next matter to avoid humiliation over discriminations and partialities.
The Chief Justice, in her verified response, granted all things being just, couldn’t be impeached. The decision to deprive her of the right to counsel is perhaps the biggest blunder of the House committee since constitutionally, she should have been afforded representation while continually performing her tasks in the Supreme Court.
In fact, the members of the committee did not even discuss the details of the complaint to examine if Gadon’s allegations are indeed worthy of the time and effort of impeachment hearings, because, as it is now apparent, none of the 27 allegations constitutes any impeachable offense either in form or substance.
It would be to the shame and degradation of the House to submit any seeming culpable violation and overwhelming evidence to the Senate. The House committee must dismiss the case now or lose face, or they would be scrounging means in aid of Gadon for evidence, displaying only political bias.
From ordinary netizens’ point of view, we see how the chief magistrate is being mistreated from the very beginning of the impeachment hearing, for not allowing her spokespersons to participate and cross-examine Gadon.
It would have given some members of the House at least a semblance of democracy that would have convinced the public the justice committee is merely doing its work in aid of legislation.
But this is water under the bridge now. We see collusion to depose the Chief Justice and to delay proceedings, wishing she would resign; but she is not even embattled, not even Pulse Asia’s recent survey is of any relevance to her because she has done nothing unconstitutional.
I hope a few other dissenting justices would not go down the ranks of De Castro and Marquez, almost to their shame, to dishonor the august chamber of the Supreme Court as the hearings progress or come to an end this week.
JERRY E. UY, [email protected]
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