House panel finds sufficient grounds to impeach Sereno

UNTV News   •   October 5, 2017   •   3092


MANILA, Philippines – Voting 25-2, the House Committee on Justice found sufficiency of grounds for the impeachment complaint filed against Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno.

This means the lawmakers saw impeachable offenses in the 27 allegations stated in the complaint.

Some of the 27 grounds stated in the impeachment complaint against Sereno include:

– alleged luxurious lifestyle
-frequent travels abroad
-mis-declaration of her real wealth in her statement of assets liabilities and net worth
-purchase of high-end vehicles
– and her alleged tampering of temporary restraining orders and resolutions of courts.

The lawyer of Sereno has expressed dismay over the result of the hearing on the impeachment rap.

“The committee should have answered today if these set of evidence have basis. That’s our expectation. But in the hearing, it was declared sufficient in form again,” CJ Sereno’s Lawyer, Atty. Jojo Lacaninao said.

In the next hearing set in November, the House committee will determine if the complaint has probable cause.

According to House Committee on Justice Chairman Reynaldo Umali, they will formally invite the justices of the Supreme Court who would like to testify against the chief magistrate.

However, the committee has yet to decide on the request of Sereno to allow her lawyer to confront the complainant and the witnesses during the November hearing.

“We will issue subpoena to those who will be necessary in terms of clarifying the allegations in the complaint,” Umali said.

Once the lawmakers see probable cause in the complaint, they will write articles of impeachment and put it to a vote in the plenary of Congress. Once it passes the plenary, it will be brought to the senate that would stand as the impeachment court to begin the formal trial. From there, CJ Sereno will be obliged to face the Senators who will stand as judges. – Grace Casin | UNTV News & Rescue

House recommends using Laguna Lake as permanent source of domestic water

Maris Federez   •   August 28, 2019

Laguna de Bay is the largest lake in the Philippines located between the provinces of Laguna and Rizal. (Photoville International/Rogz Necesito Jr.)

Despite the rising water level in Angat Dam, the National Water Resources Board (NWRB) has expressed concern about the possibility of another water crisis next year.

The NWRB said that if Angat Dam fails to reach its normal operating level, Metro Manila might experience another shortage come dry season.

Because of this, Congressman Ruffy Biazon, during the House Committee on Metro Manila Development hearing on Wednesday (August 28), recommended the use of Laguna Lake as a permanent source of domestic water.

This aims to address the shortage of water supply in Metro Manila and its neighboring cities and provinces in case the water level in Angat Dam recedes anew.

“Kasi iilan lang yung nakikinabang doon eh. Pinagkakakitaan yung Laguna Lake hindi para sa paggamit ng ordinaryong mamayan kung hindi sa paggamit ng mga interes ng kumpanya,” Biazon said.

The Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) agreed that this can be done, although they admit that they do not have the funding to conduct dredging in the lake.

They also cited the expense that will be incurred in treating and eliminating the saltwater from Manila Bay that gets combined to the water in the lake.

Add to this is the fast-increasing formation of algae which affects the quality of the water.

“Ang Laguna Lake kaya niyang i-supply ang requirement for domestic water supply as source of domestic water. Ang problema lang is more on the water quality,” said Engr. Emiterio Hernandez of the LLDA.

To date, Maynilad and Manila Water get a small percentage of water supply from Laguna Lake for their customers in Metro Manila, Laguna, Rizal, Cavite, and Bulacan.

Meanwhile, water levels in several dams are continuously increasing due to the rains being experienced in the country.

As of 8:00 a.m. Wednesday, the water level in Angat Dam has reached 181.74 meters.

Ipo Dam water level, on the other hand, has gone up to 11.82 meters; while that of La Mesa Dam went up to 77.18. (from the report of Joan Nano) /mbmf

CJ Sereno asks SC to dismiss quo warranto petition

admin   •   March 20, 2018

FILE PHOTO: Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno (UNTV News)

MANILA, Philippines — Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno on Monday filed her comment asking the Supreme Court (SC) for an outright dismissal of the quo warranto petition filed by the solicitor general.

The petition is intended to unseat her because her appointment as chief justice is allegedly void from the beginning.

In a comment filed by her lawyers on Monday,  Sereno said that the SC has no authority to remove her from office since the Constitution and court decisions dictate that the only means to oust her is by way of impeachment.

“Members of the Supreme Court, including the Chief Justice herself, may only be removed only by impeachment. Impeachment, on the other hand, is within the sole province of Congress and not the Supreme Court,” said Atty. Justin Mendoza, Sereno’s co-counsel.

She argued that if the SC would grant the petition, it will preempt the impeachment process which is equivalent to overthrowing the country’s Constitution.

“The Chief Justice looks forward to her day in court before the Senate, sitting as an impeachment tribunal, where she will be able to present her side, present her witnesses and evidence,” said Mendoza.

Sereno said that the quo warranto petition was filed out of time as stated in the rules of court.

She further said that it is the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) which determines if she passed the integrity requirement.

The solicitor general filed the petition believing Sereno lacks the integrity to sit as the country’s top magistrate for not complying with the Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN) requirement.

But Sereno noted, the JBC waived the submission of SALNs not only in her favor but for 13 other candidates as well. — Roderic Mendoza | UNTV News & Rescue



House justice committee postpones voting on articles of impeachment

admin   •   March 13, 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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