House panel rejects Sereno’s plea to allow her lawyers to cross-examine witnesses in impeach raps Featured

House panel rejects Sereno’s plea to allow her lawyers to cross-examine witnesses in impeach raps

Chief Justice Sereno. Photograph from Philstar.
MANILA, Philippines — Voting 30-4, the House Committee on Justice on Wednesday thumbed down Chief Justice Lourdes Sereno’s plea to allow her lawyers to cross-examine the witnesses in the impeachment complaint filed against her.

The lawmakers who favored the chief justice’s motion were Dinagat Islands Rep. Arlene “Kaka” Bag-ao, Siquijor Rep. Ramon “Rav” Rocamora, and Quezon City Rep. Jose Christopher “Kit” Belmonte, and Agusan Del Norte Rep. Lawrence Fortun.

Earlier, lawyer Carlo Cruz, one of Sereno’s spokesmen for the impeachment case, said that all the chief justice was asking for was for the House to “be fair and follow their own rules as the impeachment proceedings unfold.”

“These rules clearly state the Chief Justice’s right to cross-examine any witness that may be put on the stand. She asserts this right,” he said.

Cruz said that “if Congress remains aligned with the objective of pursuing the truth and upholding due process and fairness, then it is likewise in their interest to uphold the Chief Justice and her legal team’s right to cross examination.”

“After all, cross examination is a tool to ferret out the truth and to provide the committee with a complete picture of the material facts, and not just the side of the complainant. It is the fair, legal and right thing to do,” he added.

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