House needs I to 2 weeks after resumption to tackle Sereno issue

Published April 11, 2018, 5:00 PM

by iManila Developer

By Ben Rosario

The House of Representatives will decide before the end of next month whether or not it will send to the Senate the Articles of Impeachment against Supreme Court Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno.

House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez TOTO (LOZANO/Presidential Photo / MANILA BULLETIN)
House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez TOTO (LOZANO/Presidential Photo / MANILA BULLETIN)

In a radio-television interview, Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez disclosed that it would take congressmen a week or two after the May 15 resumption of Congress sessions to dispose of the impeachment question.

Alvarez made known the status of the Sereno impeachment bid after President Rodrigo Duterte, apparently peeved at the embattled chief justice’s statement against him, asked the Lower House to fast-track the attempt to oust her.

Sereno had dared Duterte to explain why Solicitor General Jose Calida led the filing of a quo warranto petition questioning her appointment as SC chief.

Stung by the judiciary head’s insinuation of Duterte’s collusion in the filing of the “unconstitutional” petition, the chief executive called on Alvarez to immediately act on the impeachment.

The Lower House failed to vote on the recommendation of its Committee on Justice to impeach Sereno for lack of time.

Asked to clarify the status of the impeachment complaint, Alvarez disclosed that the House Committee on Justice had already found probable cause to impeach Sereno and prepared the corresponding committee report and Articles of Impeachment against her.

Before Congress adjourned last March 21 the Committee on Rules referred the matter for plenary consideration.

“Our intention was to approve these before we took a break but we didn’t have enough time to do it. I’m sure that after the resumption of session we can approve this in plenary within one or two weeks,” said Alvarez in Fiipino.

The House needs only a one third vote of all its members to approve the Articles of Impeachment and transmit it to the Senate which will decide on the complaint.

Alvarez said the Lower House is acting within its constitutional duties if it will continue with the impeachment proceedings despite the already pending quo warranto case in the Supreme Court.

Sereno assailed the filing of the quo warranto petition, pointing out that she can only be unseated via impeachment.

Alvarez stressed that while the chief justice is correct in insisting that she can only be subjected to impeachment, she can also be ousted via quo warranto petition which questions her authority to hold an SC office notwithstanding serious errors in her being appointed to the position.

The impeachment complaint refers to grounds of removal that were committed by an impeachable official while in office.

“The quo warranto (petition) is attacking the validity of the appointment of Sereno,” stated Alvarez.