Alvarez eyes Sereno impeachment

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 12 2017 09:26 PM | Updated as of Aug 31 2017 11:27 AM

MANILA- House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez has said he is looking at the possibility of filing an impeachment complaint against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.

"I have to be frank and honest about it. May mga nangyari na sabi ko we have to investigate kung ito ay totoo, [kung ito] ay ground for impeachment. I will not hesitate to do it kapag napatunayan namin na talagang totoo yung mga lumabas na storya," Alvarez told ABS-CBN News Saturday.

Alvarez said his office is looking into reports that Sereno ordered Court of Appeals (CA) Justices to defy the House of Representatives' show cause order in connection with the detention of six Ilocos Norte officials. 

The appellate court had ordered the release of the six officials, but the House has maintained it would hold them for refusing to take part in a legislative investigation.

"[Proof] ang inaantay ko rin. Kailangan panindigan sa impeachment court na kaya naming patunayan na tama kami," he said.

The House Committee on Good Government had voted to issue the order to CA Fourth Division Associate Justices Stephen Cruz, Nina Valenzuela and Edwin Sorongon after they issued a show cause order to House Sergeant-At-Arms Roland Detabali for defying its order to release the so-called "Ilocos Norte 6."

The House has detained the six provincial officials for refusing to answer questions in its investigation of the alleged misuse of some P66.45 million in tobacco excise funds. 

The provincial officials went to the CA for relief and got a bail petition approved.

The High Court refused to answer questions on political matters and referred to the original statement issued by Sereno and CA Presiding Justice Andres Reyes weeks ago.

"It is our hope that the House of Representatives reconsider its order and that it instead, avail of all legal remedies that are provided to it under the Constitution, the law and the Rules of Court," the statement read.

Alvarez said the Court should instead investigate the CA justices.

"Kalokohan iyan, I don't subscribe to that. Hindi kami 'yung makikiawa sa kanila. Kung kaya nila sa iba, sa akin hindi. I have to defend the institution that I represent. Dapat maintidihan nila iyun," he said.

Alvarez's comments have drawn criticism for his use of colorful and strong language. 

"Alam mo, masanay sila kasi sinusunod namin kung ano yung batas. Sila iyung hindi sumusunod sa batas. They violated both law and jurisprudence. Bakit kami ang sasabihan na sundin 'yung batas, hindi ba katarantaduhan iyon?" he said.

The House of Representatives will continue its investigation into the Ilocos Norte excise funds after the State of the Nation Address on July 24.

Sereno was appointed by former President Benigno Aquino III in 2012 after Renato Corona was impeached for misdeclarations in his Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth.