By Charissa Luci-Atienza
The House impeachment has started gathering and consolidating all the testimonies and documents that would solidify the ouster case against Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno.
This was disclosed by Speaker Pantaleon “Bebot” Alvarez who expressed confidence that the Lower Chamber would be able to finish the impeachment hearings in the first quarter of the year.
“Nag-umpisa na rin kami na i-consolidate ‘yung lahat ng mga ebidensya
at ‘yung mga testimony na nakalap namin (We have started consolidating the evidence and testimonies we’ve gathered),” he said.
The House chief said they are not in a hurry to transmit the Articles of Impeachment to the Senate Impeachment Court as they are poised to accommodate more witnesses, including members of the Supreme Court (SC).
“Basta sabihin natin, may deadline tayo. Marami pang gustong tumestigo….bigyan natin ng pagkakataon na magpunta at tumestigo at sabihin ‘yung kanilang nalalaman (We would like to say, we have a deadline. More witnesses want to testify..let us give them the chance to come and testify and tell what they know),” Alvarez said.
Oriental Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo Umali, chairman of the House committee on justice, said they are eyeing to conclude the ouster hearings by next month and transmit the Articles of Impeachment to the Senate in March.
Alvarez took a swipe against Sereno for her continued failure to face the impeachment panel.
“What is Chief Justice Sereno doing? She doesn’t want to confront the truth, she doesn’t want to face the committee on justice to explain her side. Now, isn’t it true that if you’re innocent, you’re ready face anyone to answer the accusation against you but if you’re hiding something and you know you have done wrong, naturally, you’ll be
afraid (to face it),” he said.
“The public can see now that the allegations in the complaint are being proven one by one. Various witnesses are testifying, even her fellow justices, to prove that the charges are true,” he added. Alvarez said instead of accusing SC Associate Justice Teresita
Leonardo-De Castro and her fellow justices that they testified against Sereno due personal grudges, the Chief Justice’s camp should “answer their testimonies, confront the truth, confront the facts.”
Aside from Castro, SC Associate Justices Noel Tijam and Francis Jardeleza and retired Associate Justice Arturo Brion have already testified against Sereno.
Set to face the impeachment panel to testify are Associate Justices Antonio Carpio, Samuel Martires, Mariano del Castillo, Diosdado Peralta and Andres Reyes Jr.