House panel finds sufficient grounds to impeach Sereno

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THE justice committee of the House of Representatives, voting 25-2 on Thursday found sufficient grounds to impeach Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.

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Only Rep. Jose Christopher Belmonte of Quezon City and Rep. Arlene “Kaka” Bag-ao of Dinagat Islands objected to the impeachment complaint which lawyer Larry Gadon filed.

Twenty-five lawmakers voted to declare that there were sufficient grounds to impeach Sereno.

They are:

1 Rep. Ron Salo of Kabayan Party-List;
2. Rep. Luis Campos of Makati City;
3. Party-List Rep. Salvador Belano, Jr. of 1-Ang Edukasyon;
4. Rep. Fernejel Biron of Iloilo;
5. Rep. Romeo Acop of Antipolo;
6. Party-List Rep. Benhur Lopez, Jr. of Yacap;
7. Party-List Rep. Eugene de Vera of ABS;
8. Rep. Aurelio Gonzales, Jr. of Pampanga;
9. Party-List Rep. Anthony Bravo of COOP NATCCO;
10. Party-List Rep. RodanteMarcoleta of Sagip;
11. Rep. Fredenil Castro of Capiz;
12. Rep. Doy Leachon of Oriental Mindoro;
13. Rep. Juan Pablo Bondoc of Pampanga;
14. Rep. Vicente Veloso of Leyte;
15. Majority Leader Rodolfo Farinas of Ilocos Norte;
16. Rep. Henry Oaminal of Misamis Occidental;
17. Rep. Vincent Crisologo of Quezon City;
18. Party-List Rep. Victoria Noel of An Waray;
19. Rep. Rose Marie Arenas of Pangasinan;
20. Rep. Arthur Defensor, Jr. of Iloilo;
21. Rep. Divina Yu of Zamboanga del Sur;
22. Rep. Ann Hofer of Zamboanga Sibugay;
23. Rep. Gwendolyn Garcia of Cebu;
24. Party-List Rep. Harry Roque of Kabayan; and
25. Rep. Roy Loyola of Cavite.

After determining “sufficiency in grounds,” the committee will then determine if there is probable cause.

In his complaint, Gadon accused Sereno of culpable violation of the Constitution for allegedly falsifying various documents, misdeclaring her statement of assets, liabilities and net worth and manipulating the screening of candidates before the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC).

Gadon also accused Sereno of corruption for using public funds to finance a “lavish lifestyle,” such as staying in posh hotels overseas and purchasing an expensive SUV as her service vehicle.

Gadon said Sereno committed other high crimes:

* obstruction of justice for instructing a Muntinlupa court not to issue a warrant of arrest against Sen. Leila de Lima on drug charges;

* failing to pay taxes on attorney’s fees and embellishing her credentials;

* betrayal of public trust for alleged favoritism and acts usurping powers reserved to the en banc or the full Supreme Court, such as the appointment of court personnel and allowing new staff to travel abroad.

Former president Benigno Aquino 3rd appointed Sereno after her predecessor, the late Renato Corona, was impeached for misrepresenting his Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN).

If she stays on, Sereno will be the longest serving Chief Justice. She will retire in 2030 after 20 years in office, 18 of them as Chief Justice.

 

 

 

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