MANILA - The House justice committee should have dismissed the impeachment complaint filed by lawyer Lorenzo Gadon against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, an expert on constitutional law said Sunday.
Prof. Antonio La Viña of the University of the Philippines Diliman questioned why the panel approved the complaint when it was clearly "insufficient in form" because Gadon himself had admitted that part of the case was not based on personal knowledge.
Personal knowledge is an absolute requirement in the impeachment case against Sereno, La Viña told radio DZMM.
He noted that an impeachment complaint against President Rodrigo Duterte was dismissed on the same grounds.
Laviña added that due to Gadon's admission, there was no reason for the House to continue its impeachment hearings against Sereno because "the Constitution allows the case to proceed to the trial right away, with the Senate."
Sereno is accused of misdeclaring her wealth, having an extravagant lifestyle and bypassing her colleagues in the issuance of administrative orders.
She has refused to attend the impeachment hearings, insisting her lawyers can question witnesses on her behalf. House leaders however said this was against the rules of procedure, which state that only resource persons are allowed to speak, and not their lawyers.
The panel is set to resume the impeachment proceedings on Monday.