MANILA Voting 38-2, the House of Representatives' justice committee on Thursday found probable cause to impeach Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.
Gadon's impeachment complaint contains four grounds, including corruption, culpable violation of the Constitution, betrayal of public trust and other high crimes. The complaint also alleged 27 acts constituting the offenses charged against the Chief Justice.
Oriental Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo Umali, committee chairman, said his panel marked "another milestone" for the first conduct of a full cycle in the initiation of impeachment proceedings from filing and referral, to determination of form, substance, and grounds, and eventually the determination of probable cause.
Umali said the impeachment complaint puts into question Sereno's fitness to continue serving as head of the judiciary, stressing that all its members must be "a person of proven competence, integrity, probity, and independence."
"Failure to live up to the foregoing standard impairs the ability of the Chief Justice to dispense justice. In fact, as the highest magistrate of the land, she must be held to a much higher, if not highest standard," Umali said.
The committee conducted 18 hearings on the determination of probable cause spanning for five months.
"Throughout the probable cause hearings, this committee has gathered sufficient evidence to provide us with the ammunition to prosecute this case towards victory," Umali said.
House Majority Leader Rodolfo Farinas earlier said the House may have to wait for the Supreme Court's decision on the quo warranto petition filed against Sereno before the plenary voting on her impeachment.
FariAas said the soonest possible time the House plenary could put the impeachment complaint against Sereno to a vote is by May 14.
The committee report along with the articles of impeachment is set to be submitted on March 14.
Source: Philippine News Agency