Baka may galit lang! Solon looking into SC justices’ personal motives against Sereno

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By Xave Gregorio

A lawmaker from the House of Representatives vowed to evaluate the testimonies of Supreme Court (SC) justices against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno to determine if they are merely motivated by ill feelings towards her.

House Deputy Minority Leader and ABS Party-list Eugene De Vera said he is looking into the possibility that magistrates of the High Court who have attended the House Committee on Justice’s impeachment hearings have personal motives against Sereno.

“Hindi ko naman tatanggalin din ‘yung pag-iisip na baka masama lang ‘yung loob dahil na-bypass sila. Tinitingnan ko rin ‘yung aspeto na ‘yun. Kaya sila naga-appear ngayon, pwedeng to get back at the Chief Justice,” De Vera said in a news forum in Quezon City on Thursday (January 11).

De Vera said he wants fair testimonies from the SC justices which are not “based on hatred.”

“Kung maayos naman at talagang fair ‘yung testimony nila, based on personal knowledge talaga at hindi based on hatred, eh siguro naman pakikinggan natin ‘yun. Makikita natin kung tama talaga ‘yung sinasabi o hindi,” he said.

Associate Justice Teresita De Castro had previously denied in an appearance before the House Committee on Justice that her testifying in impeachment hearings is motivated by emotions.

De Castro, one of the most senior justices of the High Court, was among the aspirants for Chief Justice in 2012, along with Sereno, who is one of the most junior justices of the SC. Former President Noynoy Aquino picked Sereno for the top post in the judiciary.

De Castro, however, was unable to contain her emotions in another hearing of the justice committee, where she lamented that she and her colleagues have been bearing Sereno’s slip ups for five years.

“Limang taon na po na paulit-ulit, hindi pa rin tumitigil sa paglabag niya sa mga doong pinapaalam niya sa en banc, na sama-sama kami sa en banc session,” De Castro said in a December 11, 2017 hearing. “Hanggang kailan kami magtitiis?”

In the same hearing, retired Associate Justice Arturo Brion and Associate Justice Francis Jardeleza also revealed their disdain for Sereno over her supposed “transgressions,” which they say include bypassing the SC En Banc.

However, abogado Larry Gadon, who is the complainant in the case against Sereno, said the feelings of the magistrates toward the Chief Justice is irrelevant.

“Dapat hindi binibigyan ng focus ‘yung mga emotion-emotion o ‘yung sama ng loob. Maraming mga dokumento na ebidensya,” Gadon said.

Several other High Court justices are set to testify before the House Committee on Justice when it resumes hearings on the impeachment case against Sereno on Monday (January 15).