MANILA — The camp of Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno on Monday slammed the statement of lawyer Larry Gadon saying that a certain ‘oligarch’ was planning to bribe senators with PHP200 million in exchange for her acquittal from the impeachment case filed against her, calling it another ‘fictional work.’
Lawyer Josa Deinla, one of Sereno’s spokespersons, said Gadon’s claim was a product of his imagination meant to shore up the fact that he filed an impeachment complaint against the country’s top magistrate without evidence that he has to rely on the House Committee on Justice to find evidence for him.
“Like his impeachment complaint, Atty. Gadon’s recent claims are another work of pure fiction. They were also utterly ridiculous,” Deinla said when sought for comment.
Deinla said knowing Sereno’s upright character, she would not tolerate or even consider bribing impeachment judges, adding she has never been involved in bribery or corruption all through the years.
She added that Sereno is confident enough to prove that what Gadon is alleging is another of his outrageous claims.
In his impeachment complaint, Gadon cited 27 acts where Sereno allegedly betrayed public trust, committed corruption, and other high crimes, particularly the untruthful declaration of her wealth in her Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN) – the same ground that allies of former president Benigno Aquino III used to oust then Chief Justice Renato Corona in 2012.
Gadon also accused Sereno of extravagant spending of judicial funds by purchasing a P5-million Toyota Land Cruiser and traveling on first-class flights among the grounds.
He also cited as basis Sereno’s order in 2012 to reopen a regional constitutional administrative office in Cebu without the collegial approval of the Court, which was later on revoked by the SC.
Meanwhile, the House Committee on Justice is set to tackle the two remaining grounds for impeachment, specifically betrayal of public trust and other high crimes, from Monday to Wednesday.
After the deliberations, the committee will possibly decide on whether to vote on probable cause and formulate the articles of impeachment.
In a radio interview Sunday, Gadon said he is still verifying the information he received about the plan to bribe the senators to absolve the Chief Justice.
“Meron akong impormasyon na nakuha na vine-verify ko pa ngayon na kaya pala malakas ang loob niya kasi pinapangakuan siya ng isang oligarko na babayaran na lang daw niya yung mga Senador para lang i-abswelto siya, (I have information which I am verifying now. An oligarch promised Sereno that she will be acquitted from impeachment as he/she will bribe senators.)” Gadon said.
“Malalim na itong labanan na ito at ang dinig ko babayaran daw nila ng PHP200 million ang bawat Senador na boboto ng pag-abswelto kay Sereno, eh ‘yan ay kinukumpirma ko pa ngayon pero naniniwala ako na hindi papaya ang mga senador sapagkat sila ay dignified na tao at isipin naman nila ang kapakanan ng bansa, (This is such a long battle. What I heard is they will pay each senator PHP200 million for them to vote to acquit Sereno. That is what I am confirming now but I believe that the senators will not allow that because they are dignified persons and will put the county first before anything else.)” he noted.
While he refused to name the supposed oligarch, Gadon dropped a hint on the identity of such person.
“Itong oligarkong ito ay palaging nananalo sa mga kaso kay Sereno,” Gadon said.
In his impeachment complaint, Gadon accused Sereno of violating the Constitution, corruption and betrayal of public trust.
The House justice panel is set to continue its hearing on Tuesday to determine if there is probable cause to pursue the impeachment complaint against Sereno.