House panel sets Sereno impeach vote next week

MANILA The House of Representatives justice committee is set to vote next week if there is probable cause in the impeachment complaint against Supreme Court (SC) Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.

Oriental Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo Umali, committee chairman, made the announcement on Tuesday as the House justice panel held its last hearing on the determination of probable cause in the impeachment complaint filed by impeachment complainant, lawyer Larry Gadon.

Gadon's complaint contains four grounds for impeachment including culpable violation of the Constitution, corruption, other high crimes, and betrayal of public trust.

"The voting for probable cause hearing we intend to hold next week to give us sufficient time to discern on our votes since the results will all depend on the individual appreciation of this committee," Umali said.

"I encourage everyone to be mindful of our time today so that we will be able to make an informed decision or judgment when we vote on probable cause," he added.

In its last hearing, Umali said the impeachment panel would hear the foregoing issues concerning the psychiatric report of Sereno when she applied for the Chief Justice position, the report of the Bureau of Internal Revenue on the status and results of their investigation on Sereno's tax returns, and the embellishment of Sereno's personal data sheet (PDS).

"The hearings we have conducted since November of last year have proven that there are alarming issues within the high court that necessitates evaluation of the fitness of the chief magistrate to continue holding the high office of the head of the third branch of government, which is the judiciary," Umali said.

After the committee voting, the report will be transmitted to the House plenary for another round of voting.

Under the rules on impeachment, one-third of the total number of House members is needed to send the impeachment complaint to the Senate.

Source: Philippine News Agency

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