Alvarez: Sereno impeachment underway

THE looming filing of impeachment complaint against Supreme Court (SC) Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno will not have any problem at the House of Representatives as "many lawmakers" are willing to endorse it, House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez said Wednesday.

"Inaantay lang namin yung mga certified true copies nung nabanggit, yung mga allegations. Sa tingin ko naman walang problema sa mag-eendorso…Iyan ay umuusad na dito sa House of Representatives," Alvarez said in a press conference.

(We are waiting for the certified true copies of documents, concerning the allegations. I think there will be no problem in its endorsement. It's progressing in the House of Representatives)

Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) and Vanguard of the Philippine Constitution Incorporated (VPCI) on August 2 tried to file an impeachment complaint against Sereno but failed to get an endorsement of any lawmaker.

Under the constitution, an impeachment can be initiated by any citizen provided that a House member endorses it.

House Majority Floor Leader Rodolfo Fariñas earlier said that upon seeing the complaint drafted by VACC’s Dante Jimenez and VPCI’s Eligio Mallari, he told them “it wouldn’t stand” as it lacks supporting documents and fails to satisfy the standard of personal knowledge.

Sereno was being accused by complainants of having a lavish lifestyle, acting unilaterally on some SC matters that require en banc approval, and for allegedly misdeclaring her wealth.

Alvarez assured that the House will not railroad the transmission of the complaint to the Senate, which will then convene as an impeachment court that will try Sereno's possible case.

"Hindi [naming mamadaliin]. Dadaan 'yan sa committee on justice para handa kami na humarap sa impeachment court. Kasi mahirap naman pagka halimbawa 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.

(We will not railroad. It will pass through the committee on justice so we will be ready to face the impeachment court. If we forward it right away to the Senate—in the impeachment court—and the documents are inadequate, of course we'll become a laughing stock to the senators)

Alvarez cited the "slow" process among the judiciary as the possible reason behind the "dislike" for Sereno's leadership.

"Pero siguro nakita nila na ang laki ng problema ng judiciary hindi naaayos yung problema. Inirereklamo yan. Unang-una, ang tagal ng proseso. Ang tagal makakuha ng hustiya dito sa bansang ito. Para sa akin yun yung pinakamabagal na branch of government,” Alvarez said.

(I think they saw the big problem in the judiciary that is not being addressed. It's being complained. First, the process takes a very long time. It takes a long time to get justice in this country. For me, this is the slowest branch of government)

The House Speaker had earlier warned of removing Sereno as the country’s top magistrate, after she allegedly advised the leaders of the Court of Appeals to snub the show cause order filed by a House panel. (SunStar Philippines)
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