MANILA House justice committee chairman Reynaldo Umali on Tuesday named the lawyers who volunteered to be part of the private prosecution panel against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno in her looming impeachment trial at the Senate.
In an ambush interview, Umali noted that these lawyers had participated either as prosecution or defense in the impeachment trial against former Chief Justice Renato Corona.
Umali said lawyers Biboy Malaya, Tranquil Salvador, and Dennis Manalo had expressed their willingness to join the private prosecution panel against the current chief magistrate.
"For one, they are litigators. Second, I'm sure they know their law, they know their case, and they know their evidence. So sinasabi ng chief justice, sinasabi ng camp niya na wala kaming kaso, hindi naman siguro sasama ang mga ito kung sa tingin nila walang kaso (So for the claim of Sereno's camp that we don't have a strong case, I don't think these lawyers would join the panel if they think the case won't prosper)," Umali said.
"I think they would be able to help a lot to assist us in the course of the prosecution when it reaches that point (in the impeachment trial at the Senate)," he added.
Umali earlier revealed that former Senator Juan Ponce Enrile volunteered to join the prosecution panel in Sereno's impeachment trial.
He noted that these lawyers will participate on a pro bono basis or will render legal services for free.
On Thursday, the House of Representatives' justice committee, voting 38-2, found probable cause to impeach Sereno.
The impeachment complaint filed by lawyer Larry Gadon contains four grounds, including corruption, culpable violation of the Constitution, betrayal of public trust and other high crimes. The complaint also alleged 27 acts constituting the offenses charged against the Chief Justice.
Source: Philippine News Agency