By Ellson Quismorio
House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez knows the real reason why Supreme Court (SC) Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno wants the transmittal of the Articles of Impeachment against her before the Senate fast-tracked.
“I think kaya gusto niyang madaliin doon sa Senado baka akala niya meron siyang numero doon (I think the reason why she wants it fast-tracked to the Senate is she believes she has the numbers there),” Alvarez said in a recent interview.
“Ang para sa akin (As for my opinion), let us do this properly,” added the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino–Lakas ng Bayan secretary-general and top lieutenant of President Duterte.
For months now, the House justice committee has been tackling the impeachment complaint filed by lawyer Larry Gadon against Sereno, who is an appointee of the previous Aquino administration.
Recently, the Chief Magistrate challenged the House to forward the Articles of Impeachment already to the Senate if the Congressmen truly believe they can get a conviction from the Senator-judges in the eventual impeachment trial.
The perception is that the House leadership has been purposely prolonging the impeachment complaint at their level since the impeachment trial itself would be a dogfight and that there’s no guarantee of a conviction on Sereno.
Sereno needs only a one-fourth vote from the 23-member Senate to be acquitted of Gadon’s charges, which include culpable violation of the Constitution.
Incidentally, there’s no love lost between Speaker and the Senate, which the former has been blasting for being slow on their legislative duties.
“Maghintay siya (She should wait),” the outspoken Alvarez said regarding the Chief Justice’s challenge to the Lower Chamber.
“Hindi naman niya kami puwedeng diktahan. At saka, ang hirap kasi dito, ayaw niyang mag-attend doon at ayaw niyang harapin ‘yung katotohanan (She can’t dictate to us. The problem here is she has refused to attend House hearing and to face the truth). She refused to face her accusers and the witnesses,” he said.
“So isa lang po ang ibig sabihin niyan, talagang ‘pag tayo ay nagsisinungaling at alam natin ‘yon, mahirap pong harapin ang katotohanan. Iyun po ang nangyayari ngayon (So that only means one thing, if we are lying and we know it, we really find it hard to face the truth).”
At any rate, Alvarez said they will send the impeachment complaint to the Senate before sine die adjournment of Congress in March.
“Siguro by March nandun na ‘yun. Basta bago kami mag-break, malamang tapos na rin kami dahil inumpisahan na rin namin ‘yung articles of impeachment (It will be there by March. Chances are before the break, we will have started with the articles of impeachment),” the Speaker said.
The 293-strong House of Representatives is teeming with allies of Duterte, who chairs PDP-Laban.