AN anti-crime group is poised to file an impeachment complaint this week against Supreme Court (SC) Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno at the House of Representatives, a reliable source said.
The source told The Manila Times that the complaint will be filed after the 17th Congress convenes for its second regular session. The House of Representatives and the Senate will open their sessions on Monday.
The source said that the group’s lawyers are gathering evidence against the chief justice, an appointee of former President Benigno Aquino 3rd.
The source told the Times that some members of the House’s justice panel are keen on endorsing the impeachment complaint against Sereno.
Sereno is currently embroiled in an issue concerning alleged actions unilaterally taken which supposedly required the collective decision of the SC en banc such as the creation of the SC’s Regional Court Administration Office in Cebu.
She has also been reportedly cited for failing to declare earnings derived from her stint as a lawyer of the Philippine International Air Terminals Company in her statement of assets, liabilities, and net worth.
Should the complaint prosper in the lower chamber, Sereno will be the third SC chief justice slapped with an impeachment complaint following former chief justices Hilario Davide Jr. and Renato Corona.
Aquino 3rd appointed Sereno as magistrate of the SC in August 2010 and, subsequently, as chief justice in August 2012 following Corona’s impeachment.
According to a well-placed source in the high court, Sereno already had a “hint” that an impeachment case will be filed against her. She had directed her staff to fast track all the applications and appointments and reforms that must be put into place before the impeachment complaint is tackled at the House of Representatives.
Under the 1987 Constitution, the vote of at least one-third of House members is needed for an impeachment complaint to prosper. An impeachment complaint can be filed for treason, culpable violation of the Constitution, bribery, graft and corruption, betrayal of public trust and other high crimes.
If the required number of votes is met, the House will endorse the articles of impeachment to the Senate, which will then have to hold a trial, with the senators witting as judges.