House justice panel to begin hearing impeachment raps vs Sereno, Bautista next week

September 7, 2017 - 2:24 PM
Comelec chairman Andres Bautista and Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno

MANILA, Philippines — The justice committee of the House of Representatives aims to begin hearing three impeachment complaints — the two against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno and one against Commission on Elections chairman Andres Bautista — next week, Oriental Mindoro Representative Reynaldo Umali, the chair of the panel, said.

On Thursday, September 7, the complaints were referred in plenary by the rules committee to the justice panel, signaling that the complaints have been initiated and the one-year ban against the filing of more than one impeachment complaint against the same official begins.

“We have 60 session days to complete our task of initiating these impeachment cases.  Sabay na ang mga kasong ito na gugulong (We will tackle these cases together),” Umali said.

Since plenary deliberation will end on Tuesday next week, Umali added that the hearings could begin on Wednesday, September 13.  The panel would schedule separate days for the Bautista and the Sereno complaints.

The committee will determine whether the complaints are sufficient in form and in substance.  Umali said that the two Sereno complaints, if found sufficient in form and substance, would be consolidated.

The complaints against Bautista and Sereno both alleged that the officials committed culpable violation of the Constitution and betrayal of public trust.

Early this year, an impeachment complaint was filed against President Rodrigo Duterte by Magdalo party-list Representative Gary Alejano, but it was junked by the justice panel.

An impeachment complaint against Vice President Leni Robredo has also been submitted to the Office of the Speaker, but it has yet to find an endorser.