Speaker eyes ethics raps vs colleagues slamming Sereno impeachment

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 06 2017 02:46 PM

MANILA - Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez on Wednesday said he is eyeing an ethics complaint against congressmen who have used words deemed offensive in criticizing the impeachment proceedings against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.

"Kailangang dalhin sa ethics committee yun kasi hindi tama yun. Hindi na pwede namang 'Andiyan naman Committee on Rules kasama diyan sa mga hearings. Sila na mismo will take cognizance sa pangyayari,'" he told reporters.

"Sa akin naman, let's be objective about this kasi tayo naman, nakita natin yung Committee on Justice, talagang sinisikap nila na lumabas yung katotohanan. Wala tayong iba tinitingnan dito kundi katotohanan lang. Nakita naman natin dahan-dahan lumalabas katotohanan, kung ano lang truth," he said.

Justice Committee Chair Reynaldo Umali on Tuesday asked members of the House of Representatives to be "circumspect" in their comments regarding the impeachment proceedings, noting that some lawmakers were "casting aspersions on the integrity of this committee, of this proceeding, and of the members."

He added he has referred the matter to the Committee on Rules, to not "derail" their proceedings in the impeachment complaint against the Chief Justice.

Leyte Representative Vicente Veloso, vice chair of the committee, said a colleague described the proceedings as a "f**k up."

Veloso said according to the Constitution, the said member "can be expelled on disorderly behavior," on a two-thirds vote of the plenary.

He did not name the representative during Tuesday's hearing, but on at least 2 occasions, Akbayan Rep. Tom Villarin used the 'f' word in relation to the impeachment.

In a November 28 press conference, Villarin said he thinks the proceedings "will be heading to a monumental f**k up when it goes to the Senate for trial." 

He added it may just a "diversionary move to veer us away from the real issues at hand."

Villarin would again use the word in a statement sent to House reporters afterwards: "I believe that this charade is heading nowhere but to a 'monumental f**k up' that the House should immediately dismiss so we can tackle other important business like the BBL and other priority legislation. Otherwise the public will have a bland Yuletide entertainment from the House."

Reacting to supposed plans to hold him accountable, the lawmaker said he will "gladly face it head on," adding that he "won't be cowed to say things that must be said nor hide the truth from the public."

"I used such words like 'f**k up' only in situations that call for them. President Duterte and his ilks have been using them loosely which makes them just plain cuss and crass, without sense," he said in a statement.

"I know that this will affect the sensibilities of others like my colleagues in the House. I also know when to use my small stash of these 'colorful words' and must know how to use them properly," he added.