MANILA - (UPDATED) The House justice committee approved on Monday a draft of the articles of impeachment against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.
The panel, voting 33-1, included 24 out of the 27 allegations by lawyer Larry Gadon in the 6 articles of impeachment, which will be sent to the House plenary for approval.
Only Quezon City Rep. Kit Belomonte voted against the articles of impeachment.
The committee members want Sereno impeached for culpable violation of the Constitution, betrayal of public trust, corruption, and other high crimes based on the following grounds:
1. Non-filing her statement of assets, liabilities, and net worth (SALN) in a 17-year period during her stint as a professor of the University of the Philippines professor. Non-disclosure of wealth in her SALN, including over P30-million in fees from the Piatco case.
2. Misuse of public funds though the Supreme Court's purchase of a P5-million bulletproof Land Cruiser as service vehicle; hiring of an IT consultant with excessive compensation; and selection of a Boracay resort as a venue for the 3rd ASEAN Chief Justices' meeting without proper canvass.
3. Arrogation unto herself of the powers reposed on the high court by issuing resolutions without the approval of or contrary to what was agreed upon by the court en banc, when she allowed her employees to question rulings on the survivorship benefits of spouses of deceased judges and justices.
4. "Deliberate and malicious" abuse of as Chief Justice and ex-officio chairperson of Judicial and Bar Council in excluding then-Solicitor General Francis Jardeleza from the shortlist of nominees to the position of Supreme Court associate justice.
5. Violation of the principle of separation of powers by issuing a
joint statement with the presiding judge of the Court of Appeals on the House of Representative investigation into the "Ilocos 6" issue for the alleged misuse of P66.45 million in tobacco excise tax.
6. Deliberate failure to comply with her oath of office by tyrannical abuse of discretionary power.
The committee excluded these 3 charges against Sereno: embellished personal data sheet in applying for the judiciary, the issue on the judges in the case of Sen. Leila de Lima and the issue on the Chief Justice's speech against Marcos law regime in 2017.