THE impeachment hearing against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno at the House of Representatives may not be finished by December 13, the last day of session before Congress takes a Christmas break, the chairman of the committee presiding over the proceedings said on Monday.
Oriental Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo Umali of the Committee on Justice said that aside from the determination on sufficiency of grounds, the committee would also look for probable cause on the complaint filed by lawyer Larry Gadon against Sereno.
“January ang [aming determination ng]probable cause. Wala nang vot[ing]sa plenary [by December 13], cannot be. Di na aabot, no matter what we do,” Umali said during an interview with reporters.
(In January, we will determine the probable cause. We cannot have the plenary voting by December 13, cannot be. We cannot reach the targeted date no matter what we do.)
Umali said the committee was still awaiting the Supreme Court’s decision on allowing its personnel and justices to testify.
“Some of the resource persons requested that they be allowed to testify only after the decision is promulgated. This is then used as their reason [for]not appearing. I am encouraging the SC to immediately promulgate so our way forward on this will be clearer,” Umali said.
Umali added that Associate Justices Teresita de Castro, Noel Tijam and Francis Jardeleza, as well as retired Justice Arturo Brion, initially voiced their willingness to testify on December 11.
Last week, de Castro and lawyer Midas Marquez faced the panel to shed light on Sereno’s alleged tampering of a resolution on the establishment of the Regional Constitutional Administrative Office (RCAO) in Region 7. RALPH EDWIN U. VILLANUEVA