MANILA, Philippines — The camp of Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno described as “fictional work” the claim of lawyer Larry Gadon that a certain oligarch was allegedly planning to bribe each senator with P200 million in exchange for the acquittal of the top magistrate from the impeachment case filed against her.
“Like his impeachment complaint, Attorney Gadon’s recent claims are another work of pure fiction. They were also utterly ridiculous,” lawyer Josa Deinla, one of Sereno’s spokespersons, said Monday.
Deinla said knowing Sereno’s upright character, she would not tolerate or even consider bribing impeachment judges, adding she had never been involved in bribery or corruption all through the years.
In his impeachment complaint, Gadon alleged that Sereno committed 27 acts that allegedly betrayed public trust, He is also accusing the chief justice of committing corruption and other high crimes, including her alleged untruthful declaration of her wealth in her Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth.
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 Supreme Court.
The House Committee on Justice is tackling the said allegations against Sereno. After the deliberations, the panel is expected to decide on whether to vote on probable cause and formulate the articles of impeachment against the chief justice.
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.