By Ben Rosario
The 11-man team that will be tasked to prosecute Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno will be chosen from among the best legal minds in the House of Representatives and those who have actively participated in the impeachment hearings.
The process of choosing the prosecutors has started even before the committee on justice could vote on whether or not it will impeach Sereno. Voting is expected on Thursday.
A highly reliable source revealed that administration Deputy Speakers Fredenil Castro (NUP, Capiz) and Gwendolyn Garcia (PDP-Laban, Cebu); Reps. Vicente Veloso (PDP-Laban, Leyte); Henry Oaminal (PDP-Laban, Misamis Oriental), together with Asst. Minority Leader and ABS Partylist Rep. Eugene De Vera, are shoo ins for the prosecution assignment.
Also mentioned by the source were Reps. Ruwel Peter Gonzaga , Rodel Batocabe (Ako Bicol Partylist) and bar topnotcher Mylene Garcia-Albano (NP, Davao City).
Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas (PDP-Laban, Ilocos Norte) and Mindoro Oriental Rep. Reynaldo Umali, committee chairman, are expected to head the panel. Both Fariñas and Umali played active roles in the impeachment of the late Chief Justice Renato Corona in 2012.
Batocabe said the House justice panel will vote on each ground of the impeachment complaint.
Meanwhile, Umali assured the public that the quo warranto petition filed against before the Senate.
A quo warranto petition questions the validity of the appointment from the start based on the official’s qualifications, while an impeachment case seeks the official’s ouster for culpable violation of the Constitution, graft and corruption, betrayal of public trust or other high crimes.
“These are separate and independent actions based on different grounds,” Umali explained, referring to the impeachment and quo warranot proceedings.