House justice panel finds probable cause to impeach Sereno

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Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes P. A. Sereno speaks during an interview with BusinessWorld in this photo taken on February 16, 2018.

The House committee on justice on Thursday, March 8, voted 38-2 to find probable cause to impeach Chief Justice Maria Lourdes P.A. Sereno. A report on the articles of impeachment, based on the impeachment complaint filed by lawyer Lorenzo G. Gadon, will be voted upon by the committee on March 14.

The 38 members who voted for the probable cause are:

1. Deputy Speaker Rep. Eric D. Singson (Ilocos Sur, 2nd district)
2. Deputy Speaker Fredenil H. Castro (Capiz, 2nd district)
3. Deputy Speaker Raneo E. Abu (Batangas, 2nd district)
4. Deputy Speaker Mylene J. Garcia-Albano (Davao City, 2nd district)
5. Deputy Speaker Gwendolyn F. Garcia (Cebu, 3rd district)
6. Deputy Speaker Ferdinand L. Hernandez (South Cotabato, 2nd district)
7. Deputy Majority Leader Juan Pablo Bondoc (Pampanga, 4th district)
8. Majority Floor Leader Rodolfo C. Fariñas (Ilocos Norte, 1st district)
9. Deputy Majority Leader Arthur R. Defensor, Jr. (Iloilo, 3rd district)
10. Deputy Majority Leader Roger G. Mercado (Southern Leyte, lone district)
11. Deputy Majority Leader Ann K. Hofer (Zamboanga Sibugay, 2nd district)
12. Deputy Majority Leader Vincent P. Crisologo (Quezon City, 1st district)
13. Deputy Majority Leader Aurelio D. Gonzales, Jr. (Pampanga, 3rd district)
14. Deputy Majority Leader Victoria Isabel G. Noel (AN WARAY party-list)
15. Deputy Majority Leader Gerald Anthony V. Gullas, Jr. (Cebu, 1st district)
16. Deputy Minority Leader Alfredo A. Garbin, Jr. (AKO BICOL party-list)
17. Deputy Minority Leader Eugene Michael B. De Vera (ABS party-list)
18. Deputy Minority Leader Anthony M. Bravo (COOP NATCCO party-list)
19. Deputy Minority Leader Luis Jose Angel N. Campos, Jr. (Makati City, 2nd district)
20. Antipolo 2nd district Rep. Romeo M. Acop
21. Cavite 2nd district Rep. Strike B. Revilla
22. Cavite 5th district Rep. Roy M. Loyola
23. Camiguin lone district Rep. Xavier Jesus D. Romualdo
24. Compostela Valley 2nd district Rep. Ruwel Peter S. Gonzaga
25. Surigao del Sur 2nd district Rep. Johnny Ty Pimentel
26. Leyte 3rd district Rep. Vicente S.E. Veloso
27. Leyte 4th district Rep. Lucy T. Gomez
28. Misamis Occidental 2nd district Rep. Henry S. Oaminal
29. Oriental Mindoro 1st district Rep. Doy C. Leachon
30. Pangasinan 3rd district Rep. Rose Marie J. Arenas
31. Pangasinan 6th district Rep. Marlyn L. Primicias-Agabas
32. 1-CARE party-list Rep. Carlos Roman Uybarreta
33. AKO BICOL party-list Rep. Rodel M. Batocabe
34. KABAYAN party-list Rep. Ciriaco S. Calalang
35. KABAYAN party-list Rep. Ron P. Salo
36. KALINGA party-list Rep. Abigail Faye C. Ferriol-Pascual
37. SAGIP party-list Rep. Rodante D. Marcoleta
38. YACAP party-list Rep. Benhur B. Lopez, Jr.

Meanwhile, the two who voted against are Dinagat Islands Rep. Kaka J. Bag-ao and Quezon City Rep. Jose Christopher Y. Belmonte.

The justice committee, chaired by Oriental Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo V. Umali, tasked a small technical working group, composed of vice chair Reps. Veloso, Leachon, Oaminal, Revilla, and Arnulfo P. Fuentebella (Camarines Sur, 4th district), to prepare the report as well as the articles of impeachment. The report will be voted upon by the committee on March 14.

Asked which charges are the strongest, Mr. Umali said: “Lahat malakas naman eh. ‘Yung SALN (statement of assets, liabilities, and net worth), ‘yung tax, ‘yung violation of collegiality of the Supreme Court, siguro ‘yung clustering. ‘Yung mga major. ‘Yung iba kasi siguro iko-collapse na lang ‘yon, iko-combine into one article.”

(All are strong charges: SALN, tax, violation of collegiality of the Supreme Court, and maybe the clustering. The major ones. The others are probably going to be collapsed and combined into one article.) — Minde Nyl R. Dela Cruz