House to tap lawyers for sereno trial

SOME unnamed private lawyers have expressed willingness to help lawmakers who will act as prosecutors in the impeachment trial against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, a House official said on Saturday.

“We have a list of volunteer private prosecutors.  But we have not talked to them yet.  We will first consider public prosecutor[s] and then we will consider others depending on the need whether or not to get private lawyers as volunteers,” said Oriental Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo Umali, chairman of the House committee on justice.

The House justice committee earlier tapped its vice chairpersons to draft the committee report on the probable cause to unseat Sereno, and the Articles of Impeachment.

The President’s allies voted  38-2 in favor of declaring the existence of a probable cause in the impeachment complaint filed by lawyer Larry Gadon against Sereno.

Umali said the committee might tap the services of the “so many” private lawyers-volunteers as soon as the panel had formed the prosecution team and complete its members.

As per the composition of the prosecution team, Umali said, “we are looking at the committee who will constitute it.” 

 “The prosecution panel who will constitute it must not only be lawyers but also litigators who are experienced in their discipline,” Umali said.

“If we lack expertise in some areas then we will look for other lawyers to fill in the gap,” he said. 

A lawmaker who requested anonymity earlier said the 11-man prosecution panel for the impeachment trial of Sereno was almost complete, with Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez as the prosecution manager.

Alvarez organized the panel ahead of the imminent plenary approval the Articles of Impeachment against Sereno before the Congress goes on Holy Week recess on March 23.

The lawmaker said the members of the prosecution panel would be formally elected by the chamber before the Congress adjourns its session.

Topics: Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno
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