A lawyer has secured the endorsement of 25 lawmakers to impeach Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno for culpable violation of the Constitution, corruption, betrayal of public trust and other high crimes.
Lorenzo Gadon, in his impeachment complaint, said Sereno committed culpable violation of the Constitution when she allegedly “delayed action on the numerous Petitions for Retirement Benefits of Justices and Judges, and the surviving spouses of deceased Justices and Judges.”
Gadon also alleged that “[s]he failed to truthfully disclose her Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth or SALN,” and that “[s]he manipulated the JBC (Judicial and Bar Council), especially its four (4) regular members, effectively destroying the JBC as a constitutional body mandated to fairly and impartially screen and nominate applicants to the Judiciary.”
Gadon alleged that Sereno committed corruption when “[s]he used public funds to finance her extravagant and lavish lifestyle by ordering the purchase of a brand-new luxurious Toyota Land Cruiser 2017 model as her personal vehicle, amounting to more than Five Million Pesos.”
Moreover, she committed betrayal of public trust when “[s]he sent a strongly-worded but misplaced reply to President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on the Judges linked to drugs thereby inviting a head-on collision between the Presidency and the Judiciary” and when she “attacked” the imposition of martial law in Mindanao in a commencement address “while the validity of Martial Law was still pending before the Supreme Court, and later continued in the Court’s deliberation.”
Those who endorsed the complaint were Deputy Speaker and Cebu Rep. Gwendolyn Garcia, Samar Rep. Edgar Sarmiento, COOP-NATCCO Party-list Rep. Anthony Bravo, LPGMA Party-list Rep. Arnel Ty, Isabela Rep. Rodolfo Albano 3rd;
Surigao del Norte Rep. Francisco Matugas 2nd, Pampanga Rep. Aurelio Gonzales Jr., Malabon City Rep. Federico Sandoval 2nd, Davao Oriental Rep. Joel Almario, Antipolo City Rep. Romeo Acop; Quezon City Rep. Vincent Crisologo, Deputy Speaker and Davao City Rep. Mylene Garcia-Albano, South Cotabato Rep. Pedro Acharon Jr., Camiguin Rep. Xavier Jesus Romualdo, Palawan Rep. Gil Acosta; Zamboanga Sibugay Rep. Ann Hofer, Quezon City Rep. Winston Castelo, Deputy Speaker and South Cotabato Ferdinand Hernandez, PBA Party-list Rep. Jericho Nograles, Manila Rep. John Nieto;
Surigao del Norte Rep. Ace Barbers, Deputy Speaker and Palawan Rep. Frederick Abueg, Southern Leyte Rep. Roger Mercado, Cavite Rep. Jennifer Barzaga, and Davao Occidental Rep. Lorna Bautista-Bandigan.
The 1987 Constitution states that an impeachment complaint cannot be considered verified, meaning filed before the House of Representatives, without an endorser from the ranks of the chamber.
A single endorsement is enough to initiate impeachment proceedings.
The Supreme Court earlier gave its nod for the release of all the documents pertaining to Sereno’s SALN, foreign and domestic travels and bulletproof luxury vehicle.
In an eight-page resolution of the Supreme Court en banc dated Aug. 15, 2017, it granted the plea of Gadon for the release of 20 documents, which would be used in her impeachment case at the House of Representatives.
Last week, President Rodrigo Duterte took a swipe at a government official over that official’s reported lavish spending. The President did not divulge the name of the government official although he made a passing reference to Sereno.
Duterte said in remarks at the Palace last week that he was looking into reports that a public official not belonging to the Executive branch stayed in expensive hotels and traveled first class.
“(That government official) is travelling abroad via first-class airplane (cabin). And the room in the hotels where [that person]stayed is first class. One room used is a presidential suite. This will come out,” he said.