AN expert on constitutional law said the House justice committee should have dismissed the impeachment complaint filed by lawyer Lorenzo Gadon against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno because he admitted that part of the case was not based on personal knowledge.
Personal knowledge is an absolute requirement in an impeachment case, said Antonio La Viña, a professor at the University of the Philippines, who said it was clear that Gadon’s complaint was insufficient in form.
Because of Gadon’s admission, he added, there was no reason for the House to continue its impeachment hearings against Sereno because the Constitution allows the case to proceed to trial at the Senate immediately.
Sereno’s camp focused also on Gadon’s admission of having no personal knowledge about the allegations against Sereno.
“Some say we cannot get justice from the justice committee, but we remain hopeful,” lawyer Carlo Cruz, a spokesman for Sereno, told radio dzBB.
Cruz also said the evidence Gadon has presented so far to the panel was all based on hearsay and could not be admitted in any court.
Cruz also questioned how Gadon obtained authentic documents from the Supreme Court.
He said Associate Justice Teresita de Castro had denied giving court documents to anyone, but Gadon claimed that De Castro had provided him information through print journalist Jomar Canlas.
The chairman of the justice committee, Oriental Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo Umali on Sunday urged Gadon to reinforce his complaint.
Umali said Gadon must regain his composure once he faces proceedings today until Wednesday after his credibility was challenged last week for admitting he did not have personal knowledge or have authentic records to prove that Sereno altered a temporary restraining order drafted by De Castro in the absence of full-court approval in 2013.
“This is now the opportunity for Larry to recover [and] to make his performance better than the previous one,” Umali said.
Earlier, Oriental Mindoro Rep. Salvador Paulino Leachon expressed dismay over Gadon’s admission that he had no personal knowledge about the allegations against Sereno.