MANILA - Malacañang on Thursday welcomed a House of Representatives panel’s ruling finding grounds to impeach Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.
By a vote of 38-2, the House committee on justice on Thursday found the impeachment complaint against Sereno as having probable cause.
“Patunay po ito na gumagana ang ating mga proseso na nakasaad sa Saligang Batas, lalo na ang proseso ng impeachment. Nagagagalak kami na nakita natin na gumagana muli ang ating mga institusyon,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a news conference.
The House Committee on Justice will now draft articles of impeachment against Sereno, which will be submitted to the plenary for approval.
The two who voted against the impeachment complaint were Kaka Bag-ao of Dinagat Islands and Kit Belmonte of Quezon City.
In a press briefing after the voting, House justice committee head Oriental Mindoro Rep. Rey Umali said almost all the allegations in the complaint will make for strong articles for impeachment.
"Lahat malakas naman e. 'Yung SALN (statement of assets, liabilities and net worth), 'yung sa tax, 'yung violation ng collegiality ng Supreme Court, siguro 'yung clustering. Yung iba siguro iko-combine na lang into one article," he said.
If the complaint hurdles the House plenary, it will be forwarded to the Senate, which will act as an impeachment court. A two-thirds vote of all senators is required to remove her from office.
Sereno is the second chief justice to be impeached by the House, after Renato Corona, who was ousted and convicted by the impeachment court in 2012 over hidden wealth allegations.
Aside from the impeachment case, Sereno is also facing a separate petition filed by the Solicitor General before the SC, which claimed she her appointment was null and void from the beginning after she failed to furnish copies of her SALNs.