House move to oust CJ questioned
AN anti-corruption group on Sunday questioned the motives of House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez in pushing for the ouster of Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.
“We have been monitoring the development and an obviously seen hand is manipulating the outcome of the impeachment hearing,” said Jo Perez, a spokesperson for the Filipino Alliance for Transparency and Empowerment.
“It seems that his [Alvarez] investment in her impeachment is driven by something other than a desire to exact accountability—it seems that he is one of the people who stands to benefit from her impeachment,” Perez added.
Sereno is facing impeachment proceedings after the House committee on justice said there were sufficient grounds to proceed, after lawyer Larry Gardon accused her of culpable violation of the Constitution, corruption, betrayal of public trust and other high crimes.
Alvarez said Sereno should personally appear in the impeachment proceedings to do the cross-examination herself instead of her lawyers.
Sereno’s legal counsels wrote to the House justice committee last month, asserting her right to counsel and to cross-examine the witnesses.
Alvarez said if Sereno could not face the accusations against her, she should quit.
FATE said that Alvarez’s remarks “would easily lead one to think that the impeachment against Sereno is driven by personal agenda rather than the interest of the country.”
“Indeed, Alvarez’s choice of words would easily lead one to think he definitely has an ax to grind against Sereno,” the group said.
The anti-corruption group said that in 2007, before she joined the Supreme Court, Sereno testified and executed an affidavit before the Sandiganbayan, saying that the Philippine International Air Terminals Co. Inc. contracts that Alvarez pushed were “grossly disadvantageous to the government.”