2 sets of complainants are hoping for a “creeping impeachment” against Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.
the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption and Lawyer Lorenzo Gadon separately left 2 impeachment complainst againt the top magistrate at the House of Representatives with no endorsement from congressmen.
under the 1987 constitution, a key requirement for the valid initiation of an impeachment complaint is an endorsement of a congressman if the complainant is not a lawmaker.
Gadon said he met with congressmen he refused to name and gave them copies of the complaint and the attached documentary evidence. Pressed for more details, Gadon said, “marami rami rin sila nagclosed door meeting kami mga 5 sila nag iikot di ko masabi kasi total confidentiality ang sinabi sa akin para wala silang pressure sinabi lang sa akin kung matatapos ang pirmahan baka next week kanina kasi di nila maharap may hearing kanina tungkol doon kay comm faeldon hindi agad nila naharap hindi nila agad nakita”
Gadon also said, “when i was told that they wanted to route it and have it read by the congs who are interested to sign sabi ko mas maganda yun.”
Gadon explains the congressmen dont want to be named yet to avoid any pressure as they study the complaint first. “ibinigay ko na ang aking complaint yung lahat ng kopya pati attachments doon sa isang congressman na tumutulong sa akin nag usap usap sila marami sila gusto nila ay paprimahan muna ang kanilang mga kasama gusto nila ay marami nang nakapirma na endorsers bago ito isubmit sa secretary general so pinaiwan na lang sa akin yung mga kopya ng complaints yung iba raw kasi gusto muna nila mabasa bago nila pirmahan”
Gadon says the congressmen he met in closed doors today are looking at having the signatures of some 10 to 20 congressmen when it is filed. “para daw mas maganda yung dating gusto nila marami at least 10 or 20 inassure naman ako na maeendorse yan gusto nila mas marami ang pipirma hindi lang 1-2”
Gadon added, “may pakiusap sa akin na wag munang banggitin ang pangalan para di mapressure alam naman natin ang laro ng pulitika maari silang mapressure”
Gadon confirmed he met with House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez earlier but declined to give details. Alvarez had previously expressed interest in impeaching Sereno. “i dont want to delve into that issue because i cannot speak for him i dont want to discuss what we have discussed a while ago in a closed door meeting.
Gadon also said he did not discuss the matter with former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, now a Pampanga lawmaker, whom Gadon also served as lawyer and spokesman. “hindi namin ito pinagusapan i did not mention this to her the last time i saw her because baka pigilan niya ako eh or pagalitan ako”
VACC’s officials meantime filed their complaint before the Office of the Secretary General even if it also has no congressmen endorsing it. Previous complaints filed with an endorsement were unacted upon. Gadon said,Gadon likewise said, “thats precisely why i dont want to have it submitted to the office of the sec-gen without the endorsement f a congressman yung kausap ko gusto niya marami mas maganda ang dating mahirap naman daw kasi kung isa lang siya pipirma
kung pipilitin naman niya pumimria yung gusto pumirma na di nababasa nascrutinize yung mga attachment lalabas naman yung napilitan lang sila mas maganda rin na basahin nila”
Gadon hopes to see some movement in his complaint by next week”ako siguro by next week gagalaw na yan may nakapirma na endorsement”
the VACC on the other hand is not perturbed.
VACC Chair Dante Jimenez appeared to be pissed when media pressed him for endorsers. “bakit is this not enough to take courage against the CJ
what else do you want us to do?
the lawmakers are the representative of the people
Let us give them the benefit of the doubt
whether they endorse it or not i dont care but of course look at it on the merits”
Before that, Jimenez said,“kami po ay nadirito not begging but asking our lawmakers the lawmakers here in the HoR to look into our complaints on the merits of it..substance po, porma rin pero wag niyo naman po kaagad iprejudge ito
di naman kailangan na sabihin ko sayo sabihin kosa yo pangalan baka suntukin ako eh pwede ba maghintay tayo we are doing this may pruseso po diyan wag niyo naman ako ipressure”
Former Commission on Human Rights Commissioner Eligio Mallari, one of the co-complainants of VACC, said, “we expect an endorsement from a minimum of 1/3 of the House of representatives so that the impeachment proceedings will push through but making the necessary endorsements to the senate”
Mallari refers to the rule that should an impeachment be filed with at least 1/3 of the congressmen backing it, it will go straight to the Senate for trial with no further ado at the House. This was seen in the cases of former President Estrada and the late Chief Justice Renato Corona.
their legal counsel, Manuelito Luna told media, “this is an impeachment complaint
we have enough proof to substantiate the allegations all the evidence came from the court itself mga kagalang galang na justcies ng korte supema sila po naglabas nito.” Jimenez believes there will be more complaints against the Chief Justice.
The Gadon complaint compared to the VACC complaint.
The Gadon complaint f alleges, Culpable violation of the Constitution, Corruption, Other high crimes and Betrayal of public trust.
Among the incidents cited for Culpable violation of the Constitution:
Sereno failed to truthfully disclose her Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth or SALN—the same allegation that got Corona ousted from office.
the complaint explains, Respondent Sereno was untruthful when she deliberately excluded in her initial SALN the exorbitant lawyer’s fees in the amount of SEVEN HUNDRED FORTY-FIVE THOUSAND U.S. DOLLARS ($745,000.00) or THIRTY-SEVEN MILLION PESOS (P37,000,000.00), which she received from the Philippine Government.
Other incidents include alleged falsification of Supreme Court documents; delayed action on the numerous Petitions for Retirement Benefits of Justices and Judges, and the surviving spouses of deceased Justices and Judges; alleged manipulation and delay in the resolution of A.M. No. 17-06-02-SC (the request of the Secretary of Justice to transfer the Maute cases outside of Mindanao) after realizing that she lost in the voting; alleged manipulation of the shortlist of the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) to exclude then Solicitor General Francis H. Jardeleza, for personal and political reasons, thereby disgracing then Sol. Gen. Jardeleza, and curtailing the President’s power to appoint him; alleged manipulation of the shortlist of the JBC for the six (6) vacancies in the Sandiganbayan, for personal and political reasons, thereby limiting the President’s power to appoint the Justices of the Sandiganbayan; alleged manipulation of the shortlist of the JBC for the two (2) vacancies in the Supreme Court, and failed to heed the pronouncements of the Court in Aguinaldo v. Aquino, thereby impairing and curtailing the President’s power to appoint the Justices of the Supreme Court.
Among the incidents cited for Corruption: alleged use of public funds to finance her extravagant and lavish lifestyle by ordering the purchase of a brand-new luxurious Toyota Land Cruiser 2017 model as her personal vehicle, amounting to more than Five Million Pesos; alleged use of public funds to stay in opulent hotels when attending conferences in the Philippines and abroad, and flying on business or first class together with her staff and security; alleged use of public funds to flaunt her extravagance by unnecessarily bringing a huge entourage of lawyers in her supposed official foreign trips.
Among the incidents cited for OTHER HIGH CRIMES: alleged obstruction of justice by ordering the Muntinlupa Judges not to issue warrants of arrest against Senator Leila M. De Lima; alleged failure to report her extortionate attorney’s fees and pay the appropriate taxes therefor; alleged embellishment of her Personal Data Sheet (PDS) in her application for the Judiciary to overstate her credentials.
Among the incidents cited for BETRAYal of PUBLIC TRUST when among others, She sent a strongly-worded reply to President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on the Judges linked to drugs thereby inviting a head-on collision between the Presidency and the Judiciary; she allegedly prevented the Justices of the Court of Appeals to do a courtesy call on President Rodrigo Roa Duterte; she attacked the imposition of Martial Law in a commencement address, while the validity of Martial Law was still pending before the Supreme Court, and later continued to participate in the Court’s deliberations.
Gadon told reporters that he outlined 27 articles of impeachment, “ here yun ngayon ang kanilang babasahin bago nila pirmahan yung endorsement mahaba yung complaint na aking nagawa. more than 200 pages yung nakattach na documentary evidence”
Gadon says he leaves it to lawmakers to decide which of the 27 should be pushed forward. “i want to give them that discretion kung ano mas malakas”
Meanwhile, the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruptiobn also filed an impeachment complaint. The grounds: culpable violation of the Constitution and Betrayal of Public Trust.
The VACC complaint alleged that Sereno culpably violated the Constitution in the following instances cited by Jimenez, “on 5 grounds. ito po ay 5 grounds #1 betrayal of public trust at culpable violation of the constitution. so these are the 5 grounds let me read: j. sereno violated the constitution for issuing an administrative order creating the new judiciary decentralized office and reopening the RCAO in WVisayas in the absence of an authority from the Court en banc sinolo niya po ang desisyon hindi pupuwede dito “
Jimenez added, “sereno culpably violated the constitutional provision that appointed officials shall not hold another public post unless provdied for by law in appointing a certain solomon lumba as her staff head. di rin niya po hiningan ng permiso ang en banc ang kaniyang kapwa justices”
Jimenez also said, “for appointing a certain atty brenda j mendoza as Philippine mediation center office by mere memorandum which was not referred to the court en banc for its consideration…for granting to members of her own staff travel allowances for foreign travel charged to the supreme court without approval again of the en banc”
Jimenez also said, “betrayed her trust thtorugh inexcusable negligence hindi niya po finillupan ang various positions na kailangan ng judiciary for the past 3 years kaya naman pala cj sereno napakasuperbagal at sabihin nating mahina ang ating judicial system kaming victims of heinous crimes naghihintay pa rin ng korteng create”