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House panel finds sufficient grounds to impeach Sereno

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Thursday, October 5th, 2017

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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

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CJ Sereno asks SC to dismiss quo warranto petition

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Tuesday, March 20th, 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

 

 

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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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Duterte, not bullying Sereno – Malacañang

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Friday, March 9th, 2018

FILE PHOTO: Pres. Rodrigo Duterte and Chief Justice Lourdes Sereno

MANILA, Philippines — Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said President Duterte is not bullying Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.

The official also said that it is Sereno herself who alienated her colleagues in the highest court and they wanted her out of the position.

“Hindi na po siya kinakailangang i-bully ng presidente. She has done a magnificent job of alienating her colleagues at mga colleagues niya mismo ang nagsasabi na hindi siya karapat-dapat diyan. Hindi po ang presidente,” said Roque.

(She needs no bullying from the president. She has done a magnificent job of alienating her colleagues and her colleagues themselves say she does not deserve her position — not the president.)

President Rodrigo Duterte mentioned recently that he had no hand in the filing of complaints against Sereno.

He also let Congress do its work on the impeachment proceedings against the chief justice.

Meanwhile, Roque revealed that even those who are in the lower courts are appealing for the resignation of the chief magistrate.

“Siya ang hepeng mahistrado and yet ni isang mahistrado walang kumampi sa kaniya at ang pagkakaalam ko pati yung mga judges ng lower courts, mananawagan na siya’y bumaba sa pwesto,” said the presidential spokesperson.

(She is the chief justice and yet not even one justice sided with her. And I know even the judges in the lower courts are appealing for her resignation.)

Congress has started drafting the articles of impeachment after establishing probable cause on the impeachment complaint filed before the House justice committee against Sereno. — Rosalie Coz | UNTV News and Rescue

 

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