House panel OKs articles of impeachment vs Sereno
The House of Representatives’ committee on justice approved on Monday the articles of impeachment against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.
With 33 members in favor, the panel ruled to continue the impeachment process to remove Sereno from office, as it also effectively certified its 45-page report on the proceedings it conducted as well as lawyer Lorenzo Gadon’s impeachment complaint against the country’s top magistrate.
Only Rep. Jose Christopher “Kit” Belmonte voted against the 56-page articles of impeachment against Sereno.
The six articles of impeachment, as stated in the speech of House justice committee chairperson Rep. Reynaldo Umali, asserted that Sereno must be impeached on the following grounds:
- Non-filing and non-disclosure of her sworn statement of assets and liabilities and net worth (SALN), constituting the impeachable offense of culpable violation of the Constitution and/or betrayal of public trust;
- Committing corruption and betrayal of public trust when she misused a total amount of ₱18 million of public funds thereby manifesting her grandiose sense of self-importance;
- Committing culpable violation of the Constitution, betrayal of public trust and/or other high crimes when she arrogated unto herself the powers reposed upon the Supreme Court as a collegial, deliberative and consultative body;
- Committed culpable violation of the Constitution, betrayal of public trust and/or other high crimes when she deliberately and maliciously abused her position as the Chief Justice and ex officio Chairperson of the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC);
- Committed culpable violation of the Constitution and betrayal of public trust when she deliberately undermined and violated the principles of separation of powers among the three branches of government; and
6. Committed betrayal of public trust when she willfully and deliberately failed to comply with her oath of office by tyrannical abuse of discretionary power.
The articles of impeachment and committee report will be transmitted to the House committee on rules, which will then schedule them for plenary discussions within 10 session days upon receipt.
The House plenary is set to tackle the articles of impeachment within 60 session days from its submission by the justice committee.
If the committee report and articles of impeachment garner one-third votes of the entire House members, the lower Chamber would then transmit the impeachment complaint to the Senate, which would convene as an impeachment court.
Last March 8, the House justice committee decided there is probable cause to impeach Sereno, who is being accused of culpable violation of the Constitution, betrayal of public trust, corruption, and other high crimes.
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