MANILA - A congressional committee on Monday resumed hearings on an impeachment complaint against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.
At least 3 more Supreme Court associate justices are expected to testify against Sereno, who is accused of misdeclaring her wealth and abuse of authority.
The House of Representatives Justice Committee will hold up to 10 more hearings before it decides whether the complaint against Sereno should proceed, said its chairman, Oriental Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo Umali. Congress resumed sessions on Monday after the Christmas break.
Lawyer Larry Gadon, who filed the complaint, accused Sereno of delaying action on petitions for retirement benefits of judges, delaying a resolution on a petition to move the case against Maute extremists outside Mindanao and excluding P30 million in lawyer's fees in her income declaration.
Associate Justices Diosdado Peralta, Lucas Bersamin and Samuel Martires are lined up as witnesses in the coming hearings. Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio declined the House panel's invitation.
Sereno has repeatedly refused invitations by lawmakers to attend the hearings, leaving her lawyers to argue her case.
If the justice committee finds probable cause against the chief justice, the case will be elevated to the House plenary where a one-thirds vote is needed before it can be transmitted to the Senate for trial.
If the case is elevated to the Senate, Sereno will be the second chief justice to face an impeachment trial, after Renato Corona, who was removed from office in 2012 after he was found guilty of underdeclaring his net worth.