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House panel to allow Sereno to cross examine

By: Ben R. Rosario

The Committee on Justice of the House of Representatives will allow Chief Justice Maria Lourdes P.A. Sereno to cross examine witnesses presented in the impeachment case against her.

However, Mindoro Oriental Rep. Reynaldo Umali, chairman of the House Committee on Justice, said Sereno will not be permitted to conduct the cross examination but on a limited run.

Umali aired this position after Sereno, through her lawyers, called on the committee to grant her the right to confront and cross-examine witnesses, saying that this is allowed under Section 6 of the House Rules on Impeachment.

Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, a former chairman of the panel, backed Sereno’s position as being “in order and consistent with the Constitution on the rights of the accused.”

“While an impeachment proceeding is a political process, it is imbued with a judicial nature akin to a criminal prosecution,” Lagman noted.

On the other hand, lawyer Larry Gadon, lone complainant in the impeachment case, said a respondent “is always given the opportunity to examine witnesses.”

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