‘Relax,’ Speaker urges Senate on Sereno impeachment

November 28, 2017 - 2:33 PM
Pantaleon Alvarez
File photo of Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez. INTERAKSYON

MANILA, Philippines — Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez advised senators to “relax” and wait for the impeachment case against Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno to be transmitted to the Senate for trial instead of commenting on the proceedings in the House of Representatives.

May mga members ng Senate na atat na atat nang mag-participate, pero relaks muna, dadating din tayo d’yan (There are members of the Senate who are raring to participate, but relax for now, we will come to that),” Alvarez said.

“‘Pag nakita namin na kailangang dalhin sa kanila, iaakyat namin. Pero kung wala talaga after so many hearings, eh hanggang dito na lang (If we see a need to bring this to them, we will elevate it. But if there is nothing after so many hearings, then it stops here),” he added.

Sought for his observations after three hearings by the justice committee, Alvarez said: “It’s okay, we have just started.”

The House justice committee is trying determine if there is probable cause in the impeachment complaint filed by lawyer Lorenzo Gadon against Sereno.

Gadon said Sereno committed 27 acts that he claims merit her impeachment.

Alvarez said the hearings were taking some time because of the number of allegations.

If the committee finds probable cause, it will recommend Sereno’s impeachment to the plenary. Should the plenary vote to impeach her, the Articles of Impeachment would be prepared and transmitted to the Senate, which will constitute itself into an impeachment court and try the case.

Earlier, Senators Franklin Drilon and Francis Escudero warned the House justice committee against forcing Sereno to attend the proceedings.

Sereno has stayed away from the House hearings, asking instead that her lawyers be allowed to participate. But the House committee has rejected this.

Drilon said forcing Sereno to show up at the hearings and threatening her with detention has “no basis and will provoke a needless constitutional crisis.”

Escudero echoed the view, adding that Sereno could not be compelled to give evidence that would incriminate herself.