Speaker: No ‘creeping impeachment’ vs Sereno | Inquirer News

Speaker: No ‘creeping impeachment’ vs Sereno

By: - Reporter / @deejayapINQ
/ 07:03 AM September 06, 2017

House of Representatives Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez. INQUIRER PHOTO / NINO JESUS ORBETA

There won’t be any “creeping impeachment” against Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno or Commission on Elections Chair Andres Bautista, according to Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez.

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Alvarez said the House leadership could easily muster the 98 signatures the chamber would need to directly send the articles of impeachment against either the top magistrate or elections chief to the Senate.

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“If we wished to send it directly to the Senate, we could do that. But I don’t want that. In my view, we should hear it first here so we can take a look at the evidence,” he said.

Asked about reports that lawmakers were being “coerced” to sign the impeachment complaints against Sereno, Alvarez threatened to slap anyone who made the claim.

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“Who said that? Bring them to me so I can slap them. They are making up stories that are not true. Make them face me, so I can slap them in front of you,” he said.

A vote of one-third of the 293 members of the House — or 98 lawmakers — is needed to send the articles of impeachment to the Senate, whose members will serve as judges in the trial.

“If you want 200, we have that number,” Alvarez said. “But I don’t want to. If they all sign the complaint and they obtain the minimum number, it will immediately advance to the [Senate as an] impeachment court. I don’t want that,” he added.

“We will be forced to prosecute without solid evidence,” he said.

Alvarez cited the case of the late Chief Justice Renato Corona in December 2011 when 188 House members voted to transmit the articles of impeachment against him to the Senate.

“[In the Senate] they were fishing for evidence,” he said.

On the Sereno case, Alvarez said he believed there was strong evidence for the charges filed by two sets of complainants.

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“It’s strong because there are certified true copies in support of those allegations, and from what I’ve heard there are witnesses,” he said, but added that he would not preempt the House justice committee.

In a separate interview, Oriental Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo Umali, the justice committee chair, said he believed there was still a possibility of directly sending the impeachment articles to the Senate once enough signatures were gathered.

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TAGS: Andres Bautista, Comelec, Maria Lourdes Sereno, Pantaleon Alvarez, Sereno impeachment
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