Chief Justice, Maria Sereno
Chief Justice, Maria Sereno

Philippine chief justice denies impeachment allegations

Manila  –     The Chief Justice of the Philippine Supreme Court on Wednesday denied corruption allegations in an impeachment complaint against her, which a congressional committee voted to further investigate.

Chief Justice, Maria Sereno, a critic of President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs, said “none of the allegations in the complaint is true” contrary to the findings of the Justice Committee of the House of Representatives.

The committee ruled on Wednesday that the complaint was sufficient in form and substance, and gave Sereno 10 days to answer the charges before it was to vote on forwarding the case for plenary deliberations.
“None of the allegations rises to an impeachable offence,” Sereno said in a statement.

The chief justice alleged that the complaint against her was “designed to maximise the political spectacle, with the goal of eroding [her] credibility through innuendo and malicious allegations.”

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“This is detrimental to the independence of the judiciary upon whom all citizens rely to defend their rights and to check any abuse,” she added.

The impeachment complaint was filed by lawyer Larry Gadon in August.

Gadon stressed he has public documents to back up his charges.

In the complaint, Gadon alleged that Sereno failed to declare “exorbitant” lawyer’s fees amounting to 37 million pesos (740,000 dollars) in her statement of assets and liabilities.

It also accused the chief justice of using Supreme Court funds to purchase a sports utility vehicle worth 5.1 million pesos, higher than its market value of 4.5 million pesos, for her personal use

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