House panel wraps up Sereno impeach hearings, skeds vote next week


Posted at Feb 27 2018 10:59 AM | Updated as of Feb 27 2018 12:19 PM

MANILA - The House justice committee is set to vote next week if there is probable cause in the impeachment complaint against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.

Oriental Mindoro Rep. Rey Umali, committee chair, said the panel will wrap up the impeachment hearings Tuesday.

"After this hearing the impeachment committee will be given time to carefully review the proceedings conducted since November -- the testimonies given, the clarifications made," he said.

The panel's last hearing aims to tackle Sereno's psychiatric test results when she applied for the position of Chief Justice before the Judicial and Bar Council.

Umali stressed the determination of probable cause of the complaint against Sereno will depend on the individual appreciation of the members of the justice committee.

The impeachment complaint was filed by lawyer Larry Gadon, who accused Sereno of violation of the Constitution, betrayal of public trust, corruption, and other high crimes.

It stems from the high court's purchase of a P5.1 million luxury vehicle for the chief justice and Sereno's discrepancies on her statement of assets liabilities and net worth among others.

Sereno has denied all the accusations in the complaint, through a verified response sent to the House committee. This is after justice panel members barred Sereno's lawyers from appearing in the deliberations to question the witnesses.

If the House committee finds probable cause in the complaint against the Chief Justice, the lawmakers will draft the articles of impeachment for the plenary's approval.

The approved articles of impeachment will then be transmitted to the Senate for trial.