CJ Sereno unfazed amid impeachment complaints

By: Ador Vincent S. Mayol, Morexette Erram August 24,2017 - 11:32 PM

Sereno

Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno doesn’t feel alluded to by the pronouncements of President Rodrigo Duterte about a government official with exorbitant lifestyle.

She told reporters in Cebu City that she doesn’t live an exorbitant lifestyle and has not done any wrongdoing.

“I am not alluded (to) with his pronouncements especially that he did not mention any names at all,” said Sereno.

The chief justice was guest speaker during the Ulat ng Hudikatura, an event organized by the Supreme Court (SC) and the School of Law and Governance of the University of San Carlos (USC) on Thursday.

“I did nothing wrong and it does not affect me at all. This is the good thing about having a clear conscience…you have nothing to fear,” she said.

The president earlier slammed a government official allegedly enjoying a lavish lifestyle during travels abroad.

“May isang opisyal tayo dito sa gobyerno na tinignan namin ang travel. Hindi sa departamento ko, not the executive department. Kung mag-sakay ng eroplano, mag-abroad, first class, tapos ‘yung mga hotel niya, ‘yung mga suite. May isang presidential suite pa ang kinuha. P****. This will come out,” he said in a speech in Malacañang.

“(There is an official in government whose travels we looked into. Not in my department, not the executive department. When this person rides an airplane going abroad, they ride first class, and they book hotel suites. This person even got a presidential suite. [Expletive] This will come out.)”

Although Mr. Duterte did not name names, Sereno’s name was floated in the wake of impeachment complaints filed against her.

The first complaint was filed last July by members of the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) and the Vanguard of the Philippine Constitution.

Another complaint was filed by lawyer Larry Gadon, who claimed that Sereno was living an exorbitant lifestyle.

He alleged that she owned a sports utility vehicle worth P4.5 million to P5.1 million, and was purchased using funds allocated for the SC.

Gadon also accused Sereno of spending government money to book a presidential suite at a high-end hotel in the island-resort of Boracay.

But Sereno said the hotel management did not charge them since the suite was used to accommodate the chief justices from Asean-member countries.

“It was a presidential suite from a hotel in Boracay, and we used it as a venue for a photoshoot session for the Asean summit, and there were chief justices from other Asean countries. But the hotel management decided to declare it as free,” she explained.

EJK

Meanwhile, a group of human rights lawyers in Central Visayas has joined calls for President Duterte to stop the government’s bloody war on drugs and to create an independent commission to look into the spate of drug-related killings in the country.

Sereno, however, chose not to comment on the series of killings in the war on drugs, saying she doesn’t want to preempt any possible action that may be filed before the high court.

She, however, promised that the judiciary will try its best to expedite court proceedings to deliver justice to where it is due.

“We placed the entire thrust of our four pillars (to ensure speedy judicial actions),” Sereno said.

In a resolution, the Free Legal Assistance Group (Flag) denounced the summary executions which the lawyers described as “barbaric, unconstitutional, and unChristian.”

“Our country today has become one huge national slaughterhouse where suspected drug users and pushers have been gunned down with impunity by vigilantes and police officers,” said Flag-7 led by its chairman Democrito Barcenas.

Copies of the Flag-7 resolution will be sent to the Office of the President and Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III “for their information and guidance.”

Flag-7 said the killings, a number of which are perpetrated by police officers, have continued since President Duterte launched an intensified campaign against illegal drugs in July 2016.

They called for the creation of an independent commission composed of retired Supreme Court justices with proven integrity, probity, and independence to conduct an impartial investigation on the “uncontrolled” series of killings.

“The planned Senate investigation is merely damage control and cannot ferret out the truth because it is dominated by President Duterte’s spineless apologists,” Flag-7 said.

Flag-7 is the first and largest group of human rights lawyers established in the nation. The group, which aims to protect and promote of human rights and civil liberties, was founded in 1974 by former senators Jose Diokno, Lorenzo Tañada and Joker Arroyo during the Martial Law era under president Ferdinand Marcos.

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TAGS: amid, cj, complaints, Complaints and Referral Monitoring Center, impeachement, Sereno, unfazed

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