Umali defends Sereno impeachment case hearing

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 28 2017 02:01 AM

House Committee on Justice chair Reynaldo Umali said people should refrain from misleading the public on the House impeachment proceedings on Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.

The Oriental Mindoro lawmaker issued the warning on Monday to the complainant, respondent, and lawyers on the impeachment case against the top magistrate.

Umali, in a press statement, said they should not resort to "name-calling" or dilatory tactics to prolong the hearing.

The warning came after Sereno's lawyers Joshua Santiago and Aldwin Salumbides allegedly criticized the impeachment as a "dog and pony show."

Both lawyers were issued a show-cause order to explain why they should not be cited for contempt.

Sought for comment, Salumbides said the show cause order is uncalled for, adding it will only bring a chilling effect and "silence the voice of fair comment."

Umali, on their end, said the panel "is simply fulfilling constitutional mandate in relation to determining probable cause in the impeachment proceedings."

“It is our duty to society as officers of the court to properly inform everyone in legal and constitutional rights and processes and not to mislead or misdirect the public’s attention in order to further our own interest,” he added.

Magdalo party-list lawmaker Gary Alejano, meanwhile, said the initial proceedings against Sereno "further expose the double standards and inconsistencies of the Justice Committee."

Two alleged sources of Larry Gadon, who filed the impeachment complaint, denied giving information to him that Sereno falsified court documents in 2013

"It is clear from the very start that the impeachment complaint against Chief Justice Sereno is based on hearsay, yet the Committee still allowed it to prosper," Alejano said.

The lawmaker filed impeachment complaints against President Rodrigo Duterte for being involved in corruption and crimes, but were dismissed by the House panel for lack of sufficiency in substance.