Number of charges vs Sereno divides House committee
The House of Representatives justice committee has postponed to next week the approval of the articles of impeachment against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno because of disagreements on the specific allegations she would be formally charged with.
“The articles of impeachment were not finalized because we could not agree on how many (charges) would be included,” said Rep. Reynaldo Umali, justice committee chair.
He said other committee members “want this to be really comprehensive to show that this is really a strong case.”
The justice committee was originally scheduled to approve its report on March 14, but the hearing was moved to March 19.
Umali said the committee report was expected to be submitted to the plenary next week.
He said the charges against Sereno that were sure to be included in the articles of impeachment included her alleged failure to file her statements of assets, liabilities and net worth and her alleged underpayment of at least P2-million value-added taxes from 2005 to 2008 on attorney’s fees paid by the government for her handling of its dispute with the Philippine International Air Terminals Co. Inc.
Umali also mentioned corruption allegations involving the purchase of a bulletproof Land Cruiser and the use of accommodations in “opulent” hotels.
While Sereno’s allegedly poor performance in her psychiatric evaluation during the selection process for Chief Justice in 2012 would not form one of the grounds for her impeachment, Umali said it would be used to explain her supposed behavior.
The Psychological Association of the Philippines said in
a March 2 statement that applying the evaluation to legislative proceedings five years later would be a “misuse of those results.”
It said it would be “misleading” to describe Sereno as having “failed” her evaluation.
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