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House justice committee postpones voting on articles of impeachment

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Tuesday, March 13th, 2018

MANILA, Philippines — Members of the prosecution team are in disagreement on certain matters concerning what to include in the articles of impeachment against Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno.

For this reason, the House Committee on Justice has decided to postpone the voting supposedly set tomorrow to Monday or Tuesday next week.

“Ang gusto ng iba ay comprehensive talaga to show that this is a very strong case and I believe so too,” said impeachment committee chairman, Representative Reynaldo Umali.

(Others want it to be really comprehensive to show that this is a very strong case, and I believe so too.)

According to Umali only issues on Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN), tax evasion and Sereno’s purchase of luxury car, are the items sure to be included in the articles of impeachment.

But according to the House minority group, the postponement just shows that the panel has no strong evidence against Sereno.

“From the very start, the complaint filed by Gadon was weak,” said Albay Representative Edcel Lagman.

Akbayan party-list Rep. Tom Villarin noted, “In the impeachment trial, they are not sure if they can defend the 27 cases being charged against the chief justice.”

Meanwhile, the committee is considering to include CIBAC party-list Rep. Sherwin Tugna, Pangasinan Rep. Marlin Agabas, and Atty. Biboy Malaya in the prosecution team against Sereno as they were among the members of the prosecution team during the Corona impeachment trial.

Also, the defense lawyers of the late former Chief Justice Corona voluntarily offered their free services to the prosecution team.

Former Senator Juan Ponce Enrile, who was the presiding judge in the Corona Senate impeachment trial, is also part of the team.

“Ang criteria namin kailangan lawyer, kailangan litigator at preferably may experience in the past impeachment trial,” said Umali.

(Our criteria require members to be lawyers, litigators and preferably have experience in the past impeachment trial.)

— Grace Casin | UNTV News & Rescue


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Impeachment proceedings depend on SC decision on Sereno’s motion

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Tuesday, May 15th, 2018

Supreme Court of the Philippines


QUEZON CITY, Philippines — The Lower House of Congress deferred its discussion on the impeachment complaint filed against former Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.

House Majority floor leader Rudy Fariñas said, they would have to wait for the Supreme Court’s decision on the motion for reconsideration that Sereno would file.

Fariñas added that if the SC rejects Sereno’s petition to nullify her ouster, the Lower House will dismiss the impeachment complaint.

However, if the SC reverses its first ruling and decides to reinstate Sereno, the House will proceed with the impeachment proceedings.

“The sole purpose of impeachment is removal of an officer from the position that officer is occupying. Pero kung tinanggal na, sino pa ang tatanggalin namin?” Fariñas explained.

The Committee on Rules has until July 25 to refer the articles of impeachment to the plenary. — Grace Casin | UNTV News & Rescue

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Minority senators to insist power as impeachment court over Sereno’s case

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Tuesday, May 15th, 2018


Atty. Maria Lourdes Sereno a day before the Supreme Court granted the quo warranto petition that ousted her as chief justice.


PASAY CITY, Philippines —  Members of the minority in Senate are finalizing their move in order to proceed with the impeachment of ousted Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.

This was amid massive criticisms against the Supreme Court for favoring the quo warranto petition filed by the Solicitor General against Sereno.

“Mayroon kaming initiative and balita ko may iba pang initiative outside the minority,” said minority senator Risa Hontiveros.

Senate President Koko Pimentel, meanwhile, said that although he opposes the SC ruling, he explained that the Senate could only act as an impeachment court if the Lower House would forward the copy of the articles of impeachment to them.

But up until now, the Senate has no information yet as to the next move of the congressmen.

“Tanungin nyo na lang ang House of Representatives ano ang balak. Ang Senado ready kapag may na i-file sa amin. We will constitute ourselves as an impeachment court,” Pimentel said.

Still, Pimentel maintained that it is only through impeachment that an impeachable officer like Sereno shall be removed. — Joan Nano | UNTV News & Rescue

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Timeline leading up to Sereno’s ouster

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Friday, May 11th, 2018


Former Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno


Revisit the events, allegations and hearings that led to the eventual ouster of Maria Lourdes Sereno as chief justice of the Supreme Court.

August 15, 2017
Complainants Eligio Mallari and Dante Jimenez of the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) filed the first the impeachment complaint against of Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno at the House of Representatives.

August 30, 2017
Atty. Larry Gadon filed the second impeachment complaint against Sereno also at the House.

September 13, 2017
The House Justice committee opened the impeachment proceedings against Sereno and determined the impeachment complaint filed by Gadon “sufficient in form and substance” while dismissing the one filed by Jimenez.

January 26, 2018
Gadon again filed a graft complaint against Sereno for alleged non-filing of Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN) before the Department of Justice (DoJ).

February 19, 2018
The impeachment hearing against Sereno resumed at the House of Representatives.

February 27, 2018
The Supreme Court en banc forced Sereno to take an indefinite leave of absence starting on March 1, 2018. Her spokesperson, Jojo Lacanilao, in a separate statement said the chief justice has decided to take a 15-day “wellness leave.”

March 1, 2018
Sereno began her indefinite leave of absence.

March 2, 2018
Atty. Oliver Lozano filed a petition to the High Court to invalidate Sereno’s appointment on the ground that the top magistrate failed to comply with mandatory legal requirements. In a speech at a judicial forum at University of Baguio, Sereno rejected calls for her to resign.

March 5, 2018
Solicitor General Jose Calida filed a quo warranto petition against Sereno before the Supreme Court.

March 6, 2018
The Supreme Court en banc orders Sereno to comment on the quo warranto petition filed against her by the OSG.

March 8, 2018
The justice committee of the House found probable cause to impeach Sereno with a vote of 38-2.

March 14, 2018
The House Committee on Justice deferred its voting on the draft articles of impeachment against Sereno pending finalization.

March 19, 2018
The House panel, voting 33-1, approved articles of impeachment vs. Sereno. The Chief Justice filed her comment on the quo warranto petition filed by Solicitor General Jose Calida.

April 3, 2018
The Supreme Court (SC) decided to hold an oral argument on April 10 on the quo warranto petition filed by Calida against Sereno.

April 10, 2018
Sereno faced probing colleagues in a historic first for the Philippine judiciary that a Chief Justice stands at a hearing by her fellow justices.

April 17, 2018
SC set voting on Sereno’s quo warranto case originally on May 17. However, court insiders said the voting was moved to May 11, simultaneous with the submission of the justices separate opinions on the case.

May 10, 2018
Sereno returned to the Supreme Court, ending her month-long wellness leave.

May 11, 2018
The Supreme Court ruled to remove Maria Lourdes Sereno as Chief Justice. Voting 8-6, the magistrates granted Solicitor General Jose Calida’s quo warranto petition against Sereno.

It was a moment of historical firsts. It was the first in the Supreme Court’s 117-year history that a chief justice presided over the full court session where she herself was the respondent in a case that was up for deliberation and decision by her colleagues. It was also the first time in the history of the Philippines’ High Tribunal that a chief justice was removed through a quo warranto plea.

— Marje Pelayo | UNTV News and Rescue


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