September 25, 2017, 1:27 am
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Sereno faces impeachment

SUPREME Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno faces impeachment complaint endorsed by 25 lawmakers.

The complaint against Sereno, filed by lawyer Lorenzo Gadon, stated that she violated the Constitution when she allegedly delayed approval of numerous Retirement Benefits of justices, judges, and the surviving spouses of deceased justices and judges. 

He also alleged that she failed to truthfully disclose her Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALM), and that she manipulated the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC), especially its four regular members, effectively destroying the JBC as a constitutional body mandated to fairly and impartially screen and nominate applicants to the judiciary.

Gadon alleged that Sereno committed corruption when she used public funds to finance her extravagant and lavish lifestyle by ordering the purchase of a brand-new luxurious Toyota Land Cruiser 2017 model as her personal vehicle, amounting to more than P5 million pesos.

Moreover, he claimed that she committed betrayal of public trust when she sent a strongly-worded but misplaced reply to President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on the Judges linked to drugs, thus inviting a head-on collision between the Presidency and the Judiciary and when she attacked the imposition of martial law in Mindanao in a commencement address while the validity of Martial Law was still pending before the Supreme Court, and later continued in the Court’s deliberation.

Those 25 lawmakers who endorsed the complaint did not include the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

The 1987 Constitution states that an impeachment complaint cannot be considered verified, meaning filed before Lower House of Congress, without an endorser from the ranks of the chamber. And a single endorsement is enough to initiate impeachment proceedings.

The Supreme Court earlier approved the release to Gadon of all the documents pertaining to Sereno’s SALN, foreign and domestic travels and bullet-proof luxury vehicle.

In an eight-page resolution of the Supreme Court sitting en banc dated Aug. 15, 2017, it granted the plea of Gadon for the release of 20 documents, which would be used in her impeachment case at the House of Representatives reported lavish spending. 

By the way, President Duterte , in a passing reference to Sereno in remarks at the Palace last week, said he was looking into reports that a public official not belonging to the Executive branch stayed in expensive hotels and traveled first class.

That government official, Duterte said, was travelling abroad via first-class airplane (cabin), and the room in the hotels where [that person] stayed is first class.

As of this writing, Chief Justice Sereno has not replied to the filing of impeachment charges against her.


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