- House panel chair mulling subpoena to SC chief justice to attend impeachment hearing
- He said subpoena part of House’s coercive process, is expecting Sereno to comply
- Invitations to other justices, veteran court reporter also issued
MANILA, Philippines – The chair of the House justice committee is considering issuing a subpoena to Supreme Court Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno to compel her attendance at the next scheduled hearing of her impeachment case.
Oriental Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo Umali explained the issuance of a subpoena forms part of the House’s coercive powers which can be tapped to ensure compliance against those who would otherwise snub its summons.
“Tinitingnan po natin banda-banda riyan kung baka mapilitan tayong subpoena-hin po si Chief Justice. Ang subpoena po kakaiba ito dahil ginagamit natin ang coercive powers ng House eh,” he told ABS-CBN.
[We are examining carefully whether we will be forced to issue a subpoena against the Chief Justice. A subpoena is extraordinary because we are using the coercive powers of the House.]
At the same time, Umali said he hopes Sereno shows up at the hearing with or without a subpoena as it is her duty to do so.
“What is happening here is we are performing a constitutional duty and when we perform a constitutional duty, we expect most particularly constitutional officers to obey it,” he said.
Aside from Sereno, Umali said they will also invite the other justices and veteran court reporter Jomar Canlas — the man tagged by Atty. Larry Gadon as the source who gave him information on Sereno’s alleged tampering of a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) issued by Justice Teresita Leonardo-de Castro.
While she did not attend the first hearing, Sereno instead sent her lawyers who walked out after not being allowed to cross-examine the witnesses in the complaint.