MORE witnesses, including Supreme Court justices, will testify against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno in impeachment proceedings in Congress, Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez said Sunday.
Alvarez also dismissed the claim of Sereno’s spokesman, Carlo Cruz, that the complaint would not prosper, and that Sereno would be able to defend herself and explain why the complaint must fail.
The willingness of the justices to come forward only showed the seriousness of the allegations against Sereno, Alvarez said.
“More people wanting to testify means that her sins are great,” he told a radio interview when asked to comment on reports that six to seven justices were willing to testify if they are summoned by the House committee on justice.
Cruz said they would hear what the witnesses have to say and respond to their testimony.
Cruz said Sereno will be filing her reply to the impeachment complaint filed by lawyer Lorenzo Gadon on Sept. 25.
He said he is confident the chief justice will not suffer the same fate of the late Chief Justice Renato Corona, who was ousted through impeachment over failure to declare some of his assets and properties in his Statements of Assets and Liabilities and Net Worth.
“Well, we remain hopeful. We must remain hopeful. We need to be hopeful,” he added.
On Sept. 15, Oriental Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo Umali, committee on justice chairman, issued a notice to Sereno to answer the impeachment rap against her within the next 10 days.
He vowed to finish the impeachment process on the first week of October.
Cruz said that they would not discuss politics regarding the impeachment process against the chief magistrate, but they understand that it is still a political issue.
“We remain hopeful. [But] we understand that this is political . . . we understand that this is a numbers game and the perception now is that they have the numbers,” Cruz said in a radio interview.
Cruz said that Sereno will answer the allegations raised in the impeachment complaint with dignity befitting her office and as a professional.
He said they are confident that once her side is heard, the perception on the chief justice will change.
Gadon in his impeachment complaint alleged among others that Sereno failed to report or include in her SALN the earnings she made when she represented the Philippine International Airport Terminals Co. in the controversial case over the alleged irregularity in the construction of Terminal 3 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.