A transparency watchdog group said “an obviously seen hand is manipulating” the upcoming impeachment hearing against Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, which they branded as “nothing but a kangaroo court set up by a vindictive politician in Congress.”
“We have been monitoring the development and an obviously seen hand is manipulating the outcome of the impeachment hearing,” Filipino Alliance for Transparency and Empowerment (Fate) spokesperson Jo Perez said in a statement on Sunday.
“In Filipino, you call this ‘ginagapang.’ We have a term for this. ‘Lutong Macau,’” Perez added.
The group also called out House Speaker and Davao del Norte 2nd District Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez for targeting Sereno “out of revenge.”
“It seems that his investment in her impeachment is driven by something other than a desire to exact accountability – it seems that he is one of the people who stands to benefit from her impeachment,” she said.
The transparency watchdog noted that Alvarez, former transportation secretary and senior assistant general manager of the Manila International Airport Authority (Miaa), was “accused of profiting from the awarding the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) Terminal 3 build-operate-transfer contract to Philippine International Air Terminals Co. Inc. (Piatco).
In connection with the alleged anomalous deal, the Miaa-Naia Association of Service Contractors (Maso) had filed at the Office of the Ombudsman a plunder case against Alvarez and several other government officials, and another case before the Supreme Court alleging the illegality of the Piatco contract (Agan Jr. v. Piatco), which they won.
However, Piatco persisted and filed cases before the arbitral tribunal. Thus, the Office of the Solicitor-General (OSG) hired Sereno as co-counsel alongside Justice Florentino Feliciano, Fate said.
In 2007, Sereno — in her capacity as the OSG’s co-counsel — testified against Alvarez and executed an affidavit before the Sandiganbayan. She said that the Piatco contracts were “grossly disadvantageous to the government.”
Through the OSG, the government won as much as P1 billion for the country after Piatco lost in the two arbitration cases.
READ: Ties that bind: Duterte and Alvarez go back a long way
Fate said it was not just their group who thinks that the impeachment complaints against Sereno were motivated by revenge.
During a public forum hosted by the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), the group cited Political and Electoral Reform executive director Ramon Casiple’s statement that lawyer Lorenzo “Larry” Gadon, who filed impeachment complaints against Sereno, had publicly admitted that he wanted to “avenge” former president and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Arroyo and the late Chief Justice Renato Corona.
Casiple stated, as cited by Fate: “He (Gadon) was candid enough to say he (filed the complaint) for three reasons. He wants to get back regarding what happened to (Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo), who is his friend. (Gadon) wants to make sure that the vice presidency goes to (former Sen. Bongbong) Marcos. And revenge — he has this opinion that what happened to CJ (Renato) Corona is unjust and he wants the ones who benefited from it, like Chief Justice Sereno, to be made accountable.”
“Gadon was one of Arroyo’s lawyers in the plunder and other cases filed against her. Arroyo had appointed Corona, who was impeached by the Senate in 2012 and replaced by Sereno. For his part, Marcos has a pending electoral protest against Vice President Maria Leonor ‘Leni’ Robredo before the Presidential Electoral Tribunal,” Fate said.
But Gadon denied he said any of the statements cited by Casiple.
“There was no event that I have publicly said that I am seeking revenge for what happened to PGMA and the late CJ Corona. Aside from a being a self-declared pseudo political analyst, Casiple has shown a better talent as a fiction writer,” Gadon said in a previous statement given to INQUIRER.net upon getting his side.
Gadon also downplayed Fate as a “bogus propaganda of the yellow.”
“They just want to muddle the issues… There are many grounds cited in the complaint against CJ Sereno, the complaint is meritorious,” the lawyer told INQUIRER.net.
“The yellows are good only for slogans and hypocritical acronyms, FATE? Who are they? Their comments do not matter, no one believes them except the brainwashed and indoctrinated yellows,” he added.
INQUIRER.net tried to contact Alvarez but he is yet to comment on Fate’s statement as of posting. /je