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Rody’s leftist allies won’t support Sereno oust move
MANILA, Philippines — President Duterte’s leftist congressmen-allies will not support the projected impeachment by the House of Representatives of Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.
Speaking for his colleagues, Rep. Antonio Tinio of party-list group Alliance of Concerned Teachers said they feel that the move to oust Sereno is part of the administration’s efforts to stifle or eliminate dissent.
He said institutions like the Supreme Court and the Office of the Ombudsman that are part of the check-and-balance system “are being subjected to pressure, harassment or impeachment.”
Tinio said he and his six other colleagues in Makabayan bloc would not be a party to such efforts.
Other Makabayan members said the House intends to railroad the approval of the proposed P3.8-trillion 2018 national budget next week so it could already attend to Sereno’s impeachment.
Lawyer Lorenzo Gadon filed the complaint against the Chief Justice. Gadon is identified with the Marcoses and former president and Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who are close allies of Duterte.
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Some congressmen have privately told journalists that the fact that 25 House members have endorsed Gadon’s complaint shows that the ouster move against Sereno has the go-signal of Duterte and Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez.
The Speaker met with Gadon and some of the endorsers in his office before the complaint was filed.
Alvarez has said he would support Sereno’s impeachment for her supposed backing of the Court of Appeals justices whom House leaders had accused of meddling in the case of six detained Ilocos Norte provincial officers.
Some of the congressmen-endorsers have confided to journalists that the Speaker asked them to endorse Gadon’s complaint.
They said they believe it is just a matter of time before the House impeaches Sereno.
“The question is, will the Senate as an impeachment court support the House and convict her,” they said.
Two endorsers expressed hopes Sereno would not get impeached and convicted, as this would “cheapen and bastardize the sacred process of impeachment.”
“We also have the impeachment against Comelec (Commission on Elections) chairman Andres Bautista,” they said.
Under the rules, an impeachment complaint requires the votes of one-third of all House members – or 98 of the 294 – to send the petition to the Senate for trial.
Endorsers of the Gadon complaint said the House leadership could easily obtain the votes needed to send the impeachment to the Senate.
If that happens, Sereno would be the second chief justice to be impeached and tried by the Senate in five years.
In 2012, senators convicted then chief justice Renato Corona for failing to declare some of his assets in his statement of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN).
This is also one of Gadon’s accusations against Sereno.