• ‘House hearing a useless exercise’


    ANALYSTS view the impeachment proceedings at the House of Representatives as a “useless exercise” that should be stopped.

    The Committee on Justice held its second hearing on the impeachment complaint against Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno on Tuesday.

    LIGHT MOMENT Rep. Reynaldo Umali (left), chairman of the House Committee on Justice, chats with Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez during the impeachment proceedings at the House of Representatives. PHOTO BY RUY L. MARTINEZ

    Ramon Casiple, executive director of the Institute for Political and Electoral Reform, said the panel disregarded precedents in handling the impeachment complaint filed by lawyer Lorenzo Gadon.

    According to Casiple, in the past, an impeachment complaint was junked outright if the complainant has no personal knowledge of the allegations hurled against the respondent official.

    “But in this case, the complainant admitted having no personal knowledge, but the committee still proceeded with the hearing,” Casiple said referring to Gadon. “What is happening is a useless exercise.”

    Bobby Tuazon, director for Policy Studies of the Center for People Empowerment in Governance, agreed.

    “The House committee leadership has been defining its own rules at the expense of due process to fit into the political agenda of impeachment if not as a form of harassment against the chief justice to force her to resign or otherwise besmirch her credibility,” Tuazon said.

    “ “It’s time to cut the “fishing” short and send the impeachment right away to the Senate,” he added.

    Casiple said the committee chairman, Rep. Reynaldo Umali, also issued statements that were “out of bounds.”

    He cited Umali’s threat that the committee could order the arrest of Sereno if she would refuse to face the house.

    “That is already out of bounds because such actions could lead to constitutional crisis,” Casiple explained.

    He agreed with the views of some observers to let the House of Representatives go on with the hearings since it is the Senate that will have the last say.

    “Let’s just wait for the trial because at the end of the day the one who will decide is the Senate,” Casiple said.


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