MANILA, Philippines — Former Supreme Court Justice Serafin Cuevas must first name the lawyer who allegedly approached him to abandon the defense team of Chief Justice Renato Corona, a senator-judge said Monday.
Senator Panfilo Lacson said this would allow the Senate act “appropriately”, warning that the unidentified lawyer faces indirect contempt from the Senate-turned-impeachment court.
“It’s a serious accusation. Dapat matanong mamaya. Dapat sa court yun [It should be asked later in court],” said Lacson.
“It tends to undermine the prosecution kasi kung nilalapitan sya, lalo ngayon may allusion Malacanang. Serious yun. Yung court hindi naman pwedeng hindi tingnan rin yun [because if he is being approached specially that there's now allusion to Malacanang. That's serious. The court can't just not look into it],” he said.
Lacson said the court may compel Cuevas to name the lawyer either in public hearing or executive session.
After all, the senator said, it was Cuevas himself who made his accusation in public in an article published by the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
“It’s incumbent [for Cuevas] to tell the court the whole details of this accusation so the court can act appropriately, because if he can substantiate it, we can tackle action against that person,” said the senator.
Asked if the court could summon the unnamed lawyer, Lacson said, “We can even cite him for indirect contempt because he’s officer of the court.”
Senator Ferdinand “Bong-Bong” Marcos was not surprised by Cuevas’ allegation that the alleged pressure must have come from Malacanang, noting that no less than President Benigno Aquino III was behind theimpeacment bid against Corona.
“We all know that this entire process was initiated by the President, we know that. They can deny it, but maliwanag na maliwanag naman so its not exactly surprise na may tao nya na kukumbisnihin sya [Cuevas],” said Marcos in a separate interview.
“Knowing Cuevas, he’ll be flattered by that kasi natatakot sila sa kanya,” he said.
Asked if the allegation would cast doubt on the impeachment proceeding, Marcos said, “Again I don’t think there are any surprises here because it’s very clear, this entire impeachment process is initiated and is beign encoursged and is being held by the Palace. Sabihin nila hindi pero alam naman nating lahat, diyan lahat nanggaling ito.”
Marcos said it would be up to Cuevas to identify the lawyer if he wants the impeachment court to do something about his allegation.
“If he wants the court to do something about this, he has to identify the and he has to show proof na talagang may lumapit sa kanya,” the senator added.
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