MANILA -- House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez on Tuesday allayed fears of a possible constitutional crisis if Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno seeks redress from the Supreme Court concerning the impeachment case against her.
In an ambush interview at the New World Hotel in Manila, Alvarez reiterated the constitutional mandate giving the House of Representatives exclusive jurisdiction to accept and hear cases of impeachment.
Sereno's camp has earlier stated its plan to elevate the case to the high court.
Ang payo ko naman siguro mag MCLE (Mandatory Continuing Legal Education) muna yung mga abodado. Kasi ho malinaw sa Constitution natin, sa Saligang Batas na exclusive ang jurisdiction ng House of Representatives to hear and to accept itong mga impeachment cases, Alvarez said.
The Speaker expressed confidence that majority of the SC justices would uphold the Constitution.
Hindi po tayo aabot doon (sa constitutional crisis) kasi alam ko po yun namang majority of the justices of the Supreme Court naiintindihan naman nila yung trabaho nila. Hindi po tayo hahantong doon dahil malinaw na malinaw po yung letra ng ating Saligang Batas, Alvarez said.
(We will not reach that point -- constitutional crisis -- because I know majority of Supreme Court justices know their work and the Constitution is very clear on that.)
He reiterated that the committee would not allow Sereno's lawyers to represent her in the hearing unless she is personally present herself.
Kasi dapat nating tandaan na hindi naman sila (mga lawyers) yung ini-impeach; hindi sila yung subject nung impeachment complaint. Kami naman papayagan namin na she will be assisted by her counsel pero kailangan nandun siya, Alvarez said.
(We should remember that they lawyers) are not the ones being impeached, they are not the subject of the impeachment complaint. On our part, we will allow that she be assisted by her counsel but she needs to be there.)
The lawmaker earlier chided Sereno for diverting the issue by bringing up past issues, including her allegation of vengeance as the motive behind the impeachment case because of her testimony in the PIATCO case, which involved Alvarez.
Source: Philippine News Agency