MANILA, Philippines — Several lawmakers have warned lawyer Lorenzo Gadon to “shut up” and refrain from making unsubstantiated allegations that can tarnish the integrity of the Senate impeachment court.
During the resumption of the House Committee on Justice’s hearing on the impeachment complaint by Gadon against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, panel chair and Oriental Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo Umali asked the top magistrate’s accuser to submit an explanation in five days on his statement alleging that a certain “oligarch” was planning to bribe each senator with P200 million to acquit Sereno.
Gadon said during the hearing that he told a radio station during an interview that he had received such information, but did not believe it.
“May we advise Mr. Gadon to keep his mouth shut if he can’t substantiate his claims,” Ako Bikol party-list Rep. Alfredo Garbin Jr.
“If that statement is not verified and not supported by proof, I ask for an apology,” he added.
Also, Quezon City Rep. Vincent Crisologo said, “Please shut up your mouth, para hindi mapasama ang proceedings dito [so that the proceedings here won’t be put in a bad light].”
Meanwhile, Antipolo Rep. Romeo Acop said Gadon’s statements had “cast aspersions on our independence.”
“I would like to remind Attorney Gadon of the story of the boy who cried wolf. Kung mas marami kayong sinasabi na bagay na hindi totoo, baka iyong mga tao na nakikinig sa proceedings, hindi na makikinig sa’yo,” he added.
[If you are saying many things that are not true, the people listening to the proceedings may no longer listen to you.]
In a radio interview Sunday, Gadon said he was still verifying the information that he received about the plan to bribe the senators to absolve Sereno.
“Meron akong impormasyon na nakuha na bine-verify ko pa ngayon na kaya pala malakas ang loob niya kasi pinapangakuan siya ng isang oligarko na babayaran na lang daw niya ‘yong mga senador para lang i-abswelto siya,” he said.
[I am verifying the information I received that the reason why she is emboldened is because an oligarch promised Sereno that she would be acquitted through bribing senators.]
“(A)t ang dinig ko babayaran daw nila ng P200 million ang bawat senador na boboto ng pag-abswelto kay Sereno, eh ‘yan ay kinukumpirma ko pa ngayon pero naniniwala ako na hindi papayag ang mga senador sapagkat sila ay dignified na tao at isipin naman nila ang kapakanan ng bansa,” added Gadon.
[What I heard was they would pay each senator P200 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.]
While he refused to name the supposed oligarch, Gadon gave a hint on the identity of the person.
“Itong oligarkong ito ay palaging nananalo sa mga kaso kay Sereno [This oligarch always wins in the cases decided by Sereno],” Gadon said.