House official urges Sereno to appear in impeachment hearings


Posted at Jan 14 2018 04:01 PM

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MANILA - Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno should attend the hearings on the impeachment complaint filed against her to present her side, an official of the House of Representatives said Sunday. 

Speaking to ANC, Mindoro Oriental Rep. Rey Umali, who chairs the House Justice Committee, again said Sereno should face congressmen when the impeachment hearing resumes. 

Umali said have only covered 2 grounds of the impeachment raps so far and it may take them 8 to 10 more hearings before they can decide on the complaint filed by lawyer Larry Gadon.

"If there is nothing we can get from [her] to refute any of these allegations, then I think — and based on my conversation with the other members, and considering also that we have a super majority in the House of Representatives — I think there will be sufficiency of votes to impeach her," he said. 

Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio has declined the House panel's invitation to appear in the proceedings but Associate Justices Diosdado Peralta, Lucas Bersamin and Samuel Martires said they will attend the upcoming hearings.

The camp of the Chief Justice insisted there was no need for her to attend the hearing. 

"The Chief Justice has been cooperative. She has filed her verified answers, all documents that are needed to be disclosed have been presented. The way things have been going, we remain hopeful," lawyer Carlo Cruz, Sereno spokesperson, told ANC.

Cruz said the witnesses' testimonies have so far only shown that the complaint filed by Gadon has no merit. 

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

If the House justice committee finds probable cause in these allegations, the complaint will be taken to the plenary where a vote of one-third of all the 293 lawmakers is needed before it can be transmitted to the Senate for trial.