Solon hits ‘hasty’ House panel ruling on Sereno impeachment case
A progressive lawmaker assailed on Thursday the House of Representatives’ committee on justice for its rash ruling on the impeachment complaint filed against Supreme Court (SC) Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno.
Bayan Muna Party-list Rep. Carlos Zarate scored the House panel’s failure to even thoroughly discuss each of the allegations contained in the impeachment complaint.
“What is happening here is the impeachment of no less than the Chief Justice, the head of a co-equal branch of government. Pag-usapan natin nang maayos. Hindi yung minamadali at ayaw pag-usapan at palalimin ang mga alegasyon laban sa kanya kung dapat nga siyang ma-impeach,” Zarate pointed out during the hearing.
(What is happening here is the impeachment of no less than the Chief Justice, the head of a co-equal branch of government. We should talk about it properly. We should not do it in haste and [we must] talk about it and exhaustively discuss the allegations against her [Sereno] to determine if she should really be impeached.)
Citing Section 7d of the House rules, Zarated noted: “Members shall articulate faithfully the demands and interests of their constituencies as well as those of other sectors that are affected by proposed legislative measures or by conditions, issues and concerns requiring legislative action.”
Zarate insisted that lawmakers should “be given the chance to speak and discuss the allegations thoroughly.”
“Ang nangyayari ay parang gusto pang busalan maging kaming mga kongresistang gustong malalim na pag-aralan ang mga alegasyon,” he said.
(What is happening is as if they want to silence us congressmen who wanted to expound and study the allegations further.)
Zarate said that the public was monitoring the proceedings and keen to know if Sereno is really impeachable. Zarate, however, lamented that this fact was disregarded by the justice committee as if it was “always in a rush.”
“If this would be the norm in the Justice Committee, then it appears that the impeachment of the Chief Justice is now certain. With threats of impeachment proceedings against critics of the present administration, this precipitate process creates a chilling perception that impeachment is being used as a weapon of retaliation,” the party-list lawmaker said.
Voting 25-2, the House committee on justice, chaired by Oriental Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo Umali, found sufficient grounds to impeach the Sereno.
Complainant-lawyer Larry Gadon accused Sereno of culpable violation of the Constitution, corruption, other high crimes, and betrayal of public trust.
Gadon alleged that Sereno failed to disclose her real net worth, bought a luxury car using public funds, and pressured judges to defy the Duterte administration. /kga
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