MANILA- House Justice Committee Chair Rey Umali on Wednesday dispelled claims that the impeachment proceedings and "quo warranto" petition are part of an orchestrated plot to remove Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.
Umali made the statement a day before the House panel votes on whether there is probable cause in the ouster rap against Sereno.
"Ewan ko kung bakit ganun ang sinasabi nila. I think walang basis yun dahil nakita niyo naman kung paano pinagdaanan namin," Umali said.
"It was really a product of talagang masusing pag-aaral ng kaso at yung iba nung una evasive pa mga tanong. Paano magiging orchestrated yun?" he added.
Sereno had criticized the House panel's conduct of impeachment hearings, saying lawmakers should not have allowed hearings to drag, nor asked her colleagues in the tribunal to oust her.
The top magistrate's camp previously said that the attempt to remove Sereno from office through a quo warranto proceeding has no basis and will flounder.
"The only way by which the Supreme Court chief justice may be removed from office is through impeachment," lawyer Josalee Deinla, a spokesperson for Sereno, said.
"Dahil sa aming palagay ay wala itong batayan, hindi rin ito magme-merit. Wala ring makikitang resulta d'yan sina Mallari," she added.
Sereno has maintained that she is ready to face the allegations against her before a Senate impeachment trial.
Umali said, when the panel votes on the impeachment complaint on Wednesday, it can opt to vote on each of the 27 allegations of complainant Lorenzo Gadon or as a consolidated complaint.
"Tomorrow, I will play it by ear kung ano yung gusto ng members," he said.