Accuser denies pressuring Chief Justice

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Handout photo of Lorenzo G. Gadon during a House committee hearing on on the probable cause of the impeachment case against Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno. -- Handout photo from the office of House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez via PHILSTAR

LAWYER LORENZO G. Gadon, the complainant in the impeachment petition against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes P.A. Sereno, said he can never pressure Congress to subpoena Ms. Sereno to appear before the hearing currently being held by the House impeachment committee.

“How can someone like me, a private citizen, pressure Congress? I’m only one as against — how many? Forty members of the justice committee and 297 Congress members? Masyado lang silang dramatic (They are just being too dramatic),” Mr. Gadon said in a phone interview on Tuesday, Dec. 19.

This comes after a spokesperson of the Chief Justice issued a statement asserting “Atty. Gadon’s plan to pressure the House justice committee to subpoena Chief Justice Sereno.”

“This is yet another ridiculous statement from Mr. Gadon, who has discarded the law and turned a blind eye to our Constitution in exchange for his vain political ambitions. As earlier pointed out by House Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas, the Chief Justice — being a respondent in an impeachment proceeding — cannot be compelled to testify before the House committee on justice. The Chief Justice is not a witness subject to a subpoena process,” lawyer Josalee S. Deinla said in the statement.

She also warned that Ms. Sereno’s being forced to attend the House hearing will lead to a constitutional crisis.

Mr. Gadon countered: “Ang liwa-liwanag nung mga interviews ko (I had been clear during my interviews) that I will request… I will suggest and request. Wala naman akong sinabing (I never said) ‘must,’ wala naman akong sinabing (I never said), ‘it’s mandatory,’ or something for them to be pressured.”

He added: “En banc resolution, unanimous decision nga na ’yung mga justices eh pwede mag-appear doon sa Congress eh. Siyam na nga ’yung mag-a-appear eh. Nag-appear na ’yung apat, mag-a-appear pa ’yung lima. So anong constitutional crisis are they talking about?”

(An en banc and unanimous decision has already allowed the justices to appear in Congress. Nine are already going to appear. Four had appeared, another five will appear. So what constitutional crisis are they talking about?)

Ms. Deinla said Ms. Sereno does not need to disprove the allegations by Mr. Gadon “considering that he has not even proved anything.”

“Mr. Gadon cannot brush aside our fundamental laws. He is the one who deserves to be arrested or held in contempt for committing multiple perjurious statements and for putting pressure on Congress to violate the constitutionally guaranteed rights of the Chief Justice,” Ms. Deinla also said in the statement. — Minde Nyl R. dela Cruz