Bayan Muna rep slams probable cause finding on Sereno impeach case
A progressive lawmaker assailed on Thursday the finding of probable cause by the House justice committee in the impeachment case against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.
“Sa over eagerness at kakamadali ng majority ng komite na lutuin ang impeachment na ito ay lumalabas na parang overcooked na ito o nasunog na ito kaya hindi na nila alam anong klaseng charges ang pagbobotohan,” Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate said in a statement.
“Hindi man lang nila inilatag kung saan may probable cause sa mga allegations laban kay CJ Sereno,” he added.
Voting 38-2 with zero abstentions, majority of the members of the House panel affirmed on Thursday that there is probable cause to support the accusations of culpable violation of the Constitution, betrayal of public trust, corruption, and other high crimes that the Chief Justice have allegedly committed.
When the manner of voting was raised during the proceeding, committee vice chair Rep. Doy Leachon pointed that a thorough discussion of the 27 allegations hurled against Sereno “would just be a repetition of what have been already tackled in the past 15 hearings to determine probable cause.
Rep. Vincent Crisologo meanwhile suggested that each allegation be individually discussed, but then withdrew the motion after Rep. Alfredo Garbin cited the committee rules on impeachment proceedings.
Garbin said the rule “presupposes” that committee members “will vote in totality not individually.”
Zarate branded the proceeding as a a case of “indict you now, then we’ll inform you of what charges later,” and a violation of Sereno’s right to due process.
“Inuna nila ang botohan na dapat sampahan ng kaso pero di pa nila inilatag kung ano ang depinidong kaso ang isinasampa laban sa kanya. This is a case of indict you now, then we’ll inform you of what charges later. This is another instance of violation of CJ Sereno’s due process right,” he said.
Zarate added that the committee hearings were made to accommodate complainant Lorenzo Gadon’s “fishing expedition and provide an arena to vilify Sereno and force her to resign.”
This process, he said, has “weakened the Supreme Court as an independent institution.”
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