FIVE lawmakers at the House of Representatives, including Majority Leader Rodolfo Farinas, were approached to endorse an impeachment complaint against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno but none of them wanted to, according to a petitioner.
Lawyer Larry Gadon disclosed this when he went to the House on Wednesday with his complaint in which he accused Sereno of betrayal of public trust and culpable violation of the Constitution.
Gadon did not name the four other lawmakers.
Fariñas admitted this on Thursday.
“I read the Gadon complaint and I told Atty. Gadon when he came to my office yesterday that his allegations must substantially comply with the verification process, meaning that [those in the complaint]are of his own personal knowledge and/or culled from authentic records,” Fariñas told reporters.
Fariñas said that since Gadon’s complaints were based on newspaper reports, the lawyer should secure certified true copies of the Supreme Court orders or circulars that he was alleging to be part of his causes of action.
“Atty. Gadon, or any other complainant for impeachment, should comply with his Verification for at least a substantial portion of his allegations especially those that are readily available as they are public documents or records,” Fariñas said.
In his 27 Articles of Impeachment, Gadon claimed that Sereno allegedly:
* granted allowances and other perks to herself and her staff in foreign trips;
* prevented lower court justices from issuing warrants of arrest against Sen. Leila de Lima on drug related charges;
* acquired a P9 million bulletproof luxury car;
* falsified the Temporary Restraining Order involving the dispute on legitimate elected representatives of the Coalition of Associations of Senior Citizens in the Philippines, Inc.:
* failing to declare P37 million of her lawyer’s fees as a government counsel in her Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth;
* manipulating the shortlist of the Judicial and Bar Council to exclude then Solicitor General Francis Jardeleza, for personal and political reasons, thereby curtailing the President’s power to appoint him, among others.
The 1987 Constitution provides that an impeachment complaint cannot be considered verified, meaning filed before the House of Representatives, without an endorser from the ranks of the House. A single endorsement is enough to initiate an impeachment proceeding.
“I told him that if such is endorsed by any House Member and is referred by the Committee on Rules to the Committee on Justice, I will subject it to the same scrutiny that I did with the Alejano complaint,” Fariñas added, referring to the impeachment complaint filed by Rep. Gary Alejano of Magdalo party-list vs. President Rodrigo Duterte.
Alejano accused the President of betrayal of public trust and culpable violation of the Constitution over the at least 7,000 killings committed during the administration’s eight-month long anti-drug war, alleged failure to assert sovereign rights of the country in the West Philippine Sea, alleged undeclared wealth amounting to P2 billion, among others.
Alejano’s complaint, however, did not require an endorser since it was filed by a member of the House. It was dismissed by the committee on justice due to lack of substance.