Drilon says SC 'infighting' won't affect Sereno impeach trial

Vivienne Gulla, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 01 2018 12:56 AM

MANILA - Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon on Wednesday said the "infighting" at the Supreme Court will have no bearing on the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, should it push through.

"The trial will be based on the evidence that will be presented to us," he said.

Drilon issued the statement after reports that the High Court magistrates forced Sereno to go on an indefinite leave.

But Sereno's camp said that the "wellness leave" is in preparation for the impeachment trial.

Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III said members of the majority agreed in a caucus that if the impeachment complaint against Sereno reaches the Senate, the trial will be held every Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday at 2 p.m. 

Mondays and Tuesdays will be dedicated to legislation. This plan, however, has to be consulted with the minority.

"We are somehow perplexed at the idea that some important bills might be delayed. Like BBL (Bangsamoro Basic Law)," Sotto said.

If the House transmits the complaint to the Senate next month, the Senate Majority expects trial to begin in late July.

Sotto said the Senate may just "tweak a little" the rules used in the impeachment trial of former Chief Justice Renato Corona.

Some senators are making their own preparations as well.

"I will review the rulings in the past impeachment trials which I acted also as a judge, because there were rulings there on certain questions cropped up: procedures, on questions of law. It is useful to review what happened then because these are the precedents that we will be looking at," Drilon said.

"We've already asked our staff to look at past records and rules that need to be reviewed. Pero hindi natin pangungunahan. We don't want to get ahead of Congress. Hihintayin natin kung ano iyung magiging galaw dito," Senator Bam Aquino added.