Many solons eager to endorse impeach rap vs Sereno—Alvarez
Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez on Wednesday said many lawmakers are interested in endorsing the impeachment complaint against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.
In a press briefing, Alvarez said the lower House would look into whether or not the evidence to be presented by the complainants are strong to warrant an impeachment trial against Sereno.
“Marami na. Kaya lang sabi ko time muna, tingnan muna natin ‘yung ebidensya kasi ayaw ko naman ‘yung magmumukha tayong katawa-tawa doon sa impeachment court. Pupunta tayo roon pero hindi tayo handa, di ba? Nakahiya naman,” Alvarez said when asked about endorsers.
(There are a lot. But I asked them to give it more time to examine the evidence because I don’t want us to appear ludicrous in the impeachment court. We don’t want to go unprepared, right? That will be embarrassing.)
He said the impeachment complaint would go through the House justice committee first, instead of hurdling the lower House and directly going to the Senate which would act as an impeachment court.
According to the 1987 Constitution, a verified complaint that has the support of one-third of all members of the House may proceed to the Senate for impeachment proceedings.
A verified endorsement of a House member is required before an impeachment complaint may be considered filed before the lower House.
“Dadaan ‘yan sa committee on justice para handa kami na humarap sa impeachment court. Kasi mahirap naman pagkahalimbawa pinasa kaagad natin ‘yan dun sa Senado—doon sa impeachment court—at kulang-kulang naman ‘yung dokumento namin ‘di syempre magmumukha naman kaming kengkoy doon,” Alvarez said.
(It will have to pass the committee on justice first before we face the impeachment court. We don’t want to pass it to the Senate—the impeachment court—with insufficient documents because we will look like clowns there.)
Alvarez said Sereno should be impeached for the slow justice system in the country, taking off with his known call to abolish the Court of Appeals, which, for him, is an “unnecessary” layer in the judiciary.
He said the Regional Trial Court should have the power to hand down final and executory decisions, rendering no need for the appellate court, save for cases that are appealable before the Supreme Court.
“Dapat decision ng Regional Trial Courts gawin nang final and executory ‘yun. Kasi ang nangyayari ginagamit lang ‘yan ng mga abogado na delaying tactics. Imbes ma-serve mo na ‘yung justice doon sa complainants, pupunta pa siya ulit sa Court of Appeals e madalas nagkakalutuan pa doon,” Alvarez said, adding that the CA is not even mentioned in the Constitution.
(It should be the Regional Trial Courts’ decision which should be final and executor because some lawyers are using the CA for their delaying tactics. Justice should be served already, but instead, lawyers still go to CA, and some manipulations could even take place there.)
He said the complainants are just waiting for the certified true copies of documents from the Supreme Court to back up the allegations against the chief justice.
“Inaantay lang namin ‘yung mga ano, ‘yung mga certified true copies nu’ng nabanggit, ‘yung mga allegations. Sa tingin ko naman walang problema sa mag-eendorso,” Alvarez said.
(We are only waiting for the certified true copies of the documents in the allegations. I believe there will be no problem in its endorsement.)
There are two impeachment complaints filed and set to be filed against Sereno.
The first one was filed by the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption and Vanguard of the Philippine Constitution over Sereno’s alleged culpable violations of the 1987 Constitution by allegedly bypassing the Supreme Court en banc. But the complaint was filed without an endorsement of a House member.
Atty. Larry Gadon also mulls filing an impeachment complaint against Sereno over an “excessive” purchase of the latest model of the Toyota Land Cruiser amounting to P5.1 million, as well as her failure to declare “exorbitant lawyer’s fees” allegedly amounting to $745,000 or P37 million.
Gadon’s second complaint is awaiting more signatures before the lawyer files it before the House Secretary General’s office.
The impeachment complaints against Sereno gained traction after the Supreme Court allowed the release of the documents cited in the impeachment complaints against the chief justice.
As for the endorsed and verified impeachment complaint filed against poll chairman Andres Bautista over allegations of ill-gotten wealth, Alvarez said this complaint would be tackled first by the House justice committee. IDL
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