The House Justice panel has postponed voting on the committee report containing the Articles of Impeachment against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.
Rep. Reynaldo Umali, chairman of the panel, admitted that the panel has yet to agree on the Articles of Impeachment even if the committee has found probable cause to impeach her last week via a 38-2 vote.
“We are yet to finish the Articles of Impeachment. We want it to be comprehensive, so we moved it to maybe Monday or Tuesday next week. By then, we will be ready to present the Articles of Impeachment. A day after, we will submit it to the plenary thru the House Committee on Rules,” Umali said.
Sereno on Monday declared that she will face the charges against her at the Senate, which sits as an impeachment court. She was accused of betrayal of public trust and culpable violation of the Constitution for allegedly granting allowances and other perks to herself and her staff, Manipulating the shortlist of the Judicial and Bar Council, and failure to submit her statement of assets and liabilities from 1986 to 2006 when she was a professor for the UP College of Law.
Opposition lawmakers Edcel Lagman and Tom Villarin said the difficulty of drafting the Articles of Impeachment is an indication that there is no strong case against the Chief Justice.
“They just want to embarrass the Chief Justice. We are lawmakers, not psychiatrists,” Lagman said.
Umali has earlier said that the prosecutors from the House of Representatives will be aided by former Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, who is facing a P172 million plunder case in connection with the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF). Lawyer Tranquil Salvador and Dennis Manalo, who defended former Chief Justice Renato Corona during his impeachment trial in 2012, will also help lawmakers in prosecuting Sereno.