VACC prepares for House hearing on impeachment raps vs CJ Sereno

VACC prepares for House hearing on impeachment raps vs CJ Sereno”

Lourdes Sereno as it began on Wednesday deliberations on whether the complaints filed were "sufficient in form and substance".

As a next step, House Justice Committee Chair Reynaldo Umali said the panel would submit to the plenary its report and resolution within the prescribed 60 session days or by March 2018.

Among the Supreme Court documents Gadon used were official lists of Sereno's travel expenses and appointment letters.

Again, 30 lawmakers voted in favor of Gadon's complaint and 4 voted for its dismissal.

Akbayan Party-list Representative Tom Villarin cited how the same House committee junked the impeachment complaint against President Rodrigo Duterte last May after Magdalo Party-list Representative Gary Alejano admitted that his complaint was based on "open sources" considered by the body as "hearsay".

In an impeachment proceeding, the House will act as the prosecuting panel while the Senate acts as an impeachment court.

At the same time, the statement pointed out that "the complaints against Chief Justice Sereno seem created to maximize the political spectacle, with the goal of eroding her credibility through innuendo and malicious allegations".

"Sigurado ako na karamihan ng sinabi niya ay hindi based on personal knowledge", Bag-ao added.

"In this particular case we have a private complainant in the person of Attorney Gadon who did his homework. While he did not have personal knowledge, he appended in his complaints authentic records which were not present in the Alejano complaint", Umali said.

In a statement issued by lawyer Carlo L. Cruz, Sereno said she disagreed with the findings of the House Committee on Justice.

The statement said the Chief Justice is just awaiting a copy of the complaint, and will file her response to the Committee.

Lawyer Eligio Mallari and Dante Jimenez, chairman of the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC), filed the first the impeachment complaint against of Sereno on August 15 before the Office of the Secretary General, which 16 congressmen subsequently endorsed.

A total of 25 House members endorsed of Gadon's complaint.

Only five lawmakers voted that the case was sufficient in form, while 28 said otherwise.

But House Majority Floor Leader Rodolfo defended the complaint and said that at least 20 documents attached in the complaint came from the SC and are deemed authentic.

In his complaint, Gadon accused Sereno of betrayal of public trust, corruption, culpable violation of the Constitution, and other high crimes.

Gadon alleged that the chief justice has, on several times, manipulated the shortlist of the Judicial and Bar Council, where she sits as chairperson. "Since these are pending in the Supreme Court, then they can not be used in the complaint".

It also said: "Chief Justice Sereno has always lived a modest, god-fearing lifestyle". Cruz added that for the meantime, Sereno continues to discharge her duties with fairness, integrity and humility. She has been among the foremost proponents of establishing a culture of modesty and respect for public funds in the Supreme Court.

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