House to hear impeachment complaint vs CJ Sereno on Wednesday
UNTV News • September 8, 2017 • 4246
Committee Chairman Reynaldo Umali
MANILA, Philippines — The impeachment complaints against Supreme Court Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno and Comelec Chairman Andress Bautista have been referred to the House Committee on Justice on Thursday.
Committee Chairman Reynaldo Umali said they will begin with the two complaints filed against the chief magistrate, followed by the complaint against the Comelec chairman.
The hearing will determine if the grounds indicated in the complaints are sufficient in form and substance.
In Sereno’s case the committee may possibly invite the justices who would want to testify against the chief justice.
“If they are willing to testify wala naman problema yun (there’s no problem). We will issue invitation maybe, and better still since voluntary, so they can come over,” Umali said.
The committee, however, will give Sereno a chance to answer all the allegations against her.
It can be in writing or in person should she wish to come over.
“If she wants to confront the witnesses then she can go with it that’s her constitutional rights,” Umali added.
Once the complaints passed in the committee level and get 1/3 or 98 votes from the plenary it will be transmitted to the Senate who will stand as the impeachment court.
Umali stressed, however, that should Sereno and Bautista resign during the impeachment proceedings, there will be no reason for the procedure to continue.
“Because the only purpose of the impeachment is the removal of the impeachable officers,” Umali said. – Grace Casin | UNTV News & Rescue
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
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.)
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