Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Sereno Sinupalpal Ni Farinas: Hindi Mo Nga Nabigyan Ng Cross Examination Si Jinggoy, Revilla At Enrile Tapos Hihingi Ka?


The House Committee on Justice did not approve Supreme Court Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno's motion to cross-examine the witnesses against her through her lawyers.

With 30 votes in favor and four against, the House panel chaired by Oriental Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo Umali approved the motion by AKO BICOL partylist Rep. Alfredo Garbin denying Sereno’s motion.

Garbin reminded the lawyers and members of this committee that “we are not sitting here as an impeachment court.”  He was seconded by Majority Leader and Ilocos Norte Rep. Rodolfo Fariñas but was rejected by Siquijor Rep. Rav Rocamora, a former prosecutor.

Fariñas himself was surprised with Sereno’s motion to cross-examine the complainant.

“This (impeachment deliberation) is not akin to criminal proceedings. In the case of Estrada vs Ombudsman case, the Supreme Court held that Senator Estrada does not even have the right to demand copies of the complaint and Chief Justice Sereno concurred with that,” he said.

Fariñas even noted the detention of Jinggoy Estrada, Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. and Juan Ponce Enrile, who were sitting senators at that time, and were not even given the right to cross-examine as that may be conducted during the trial.

“If we allow the lawyers to cross-examine the witnesses, we will not be able to bring this to the impeachment court,” he said.

The majority leader also mentioned the case of the late chief justice Renato Corona who had not been allowed a preliminary hearing in his own impeachment “because he did not have the right.”

“Nag-iimbestiga pa lang kami dito, gusto niyo nang magcross-examine. (We are just investigating here yet you immediately want to cross-examine). Gagawin nyo agad trial dito (You want to have the trial here).  We are not in trial yet. For all she knows, we may dismiss this,” Fariñas said.

“Allowing cross-examination at this point might end in absurdity,” he added.

Umali assured the committee is not depriving Sereno of her right to counsel, but “their (Sereno’s lawyers) participation is a different matter.”

Rocamora maintained the legal team of the Chief Justice, led by lawyer Alexander Poblador, should be allowed to cross-examine the witnesses. “If we’re really interested in expediting these proceedings, in my experience as a public prosecutor, I allow the lawyers to ask directly, why can’t we do this?” he said.

Besides Rocamora, Dinagat Islands Rep. Kaka Bag-ao, Quezon City Rep. Kit Belmonte, and Agusan del Norte Rep. Lawrence Fortun opposed Garbin’s motion.

Meanwhile, 1-SAGIP partylist Rep. Rodante Marcoleta criticized Sereno for failing to attend the hearing.  He said sending lawyers to the hearing left him with the impression that the Chief Justice is “incompetent” to cross-examine the witnesses herself.

For Marcoleta, it seems the lawyers are better at cross-examination than the Chief Justice. “This only shows that she is weak,” he said.

The House panel also decided to prohibit non-members of the House Committee on Justice to participate in the impeachment proceedings based on a motion made by Deputy Speaker and Cebu Rep. Gwendolyn Garcia.

But Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman and Akbayan partylist Rep. Tom Villarin insisted that the House rules do not prohibit the attendance and participation of non-panel members in the impeachment hearing.

“This is more than an ordinary legislation. We are deciding here on the fortune and fate of an impeachable officer,” Lagman said.

Fariñas agreed that  non-committee members may attend committee hearings, but “if they will be allowed to speak, we may never be able to finish.”

Those who voted against Garcia’s motion are Bag-ao, Belmonte and Rocamora.

The impeachment hearing on Wednesday was attended by 31 panel members out of 50 committee members and 33 ex-officio members.


Source: Youtube