Court officials appear at Sereno impeachment

MANILA -- Several Supreme Court (SC) officials attended the hearing on the impeachment complaint against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno on Wednesday to shed light on the allegation of the top magistrate's lavish lifestyle and luxurious travels using public funds.

Among the resource persons for Wednesday's hearing include Court Administrator Jose Midas Marquez, Deputy Clerks of Court Thelma Bahia and Corazon Ferrer-Flores, Technical Working Group Special Committee on retirement and civil service benefits Chairperson lawyer Jocelyn Fabian, and SC Procurement Head and Assistant Chief Administrative Services Carina Cunanan.

Bahia and Cunanan will testify on Sereno's purchase of brand new luxurious 2017 Land Cruiser vehicle, stay in opulent hotels, huge entourage of lawyers, and other administrative matters.

Ferrer-Flores will also testify on the financial reports for foreign and local trips of the Office of the Chief Justice since 2012, while Fabian will testify on the financial report and documents on the funding for retirement and survivorship benefits of retired judges and justices.

On Monday, the committee sought the personal knowledge of SC justices Diosdado Peralta, Lucas Bersamin, and Samuel Martires on the delay of granting of survivorship benefits to the spouses of deceased magistrates.

Previous deliberations have been attended by incumbent Justices Teresita Leonardo-de Castro, Noel Tijam and Francis Jardeleza, as well as retired Justice Arturo Brion.

House justice committee chair Reynaldo Umali said his panel intended to complete the impeachment proceedings by the end of February, or on the first week of March at the latest.

Umali said the committee report would then be submitted to the plenary before Congress goes into a Holy Week break in March.

Source: Philippine News Agency

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