25

25 Congressmen have come forward to endorse the impeachment complaint of lawyer Lorenzo Gadon against  Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.

This was confirmed by Gadon and Secretary General Cesar Pareja.

Gadon told media, “As of 630 tonight my complaint against CJ sereno for impeachment has been received by the HoR Office oft he sec0gen in so short a time we gathered 25 endorsers and tomorrow more endorsers  will sign as of now there are alreday 25 signatures who endorsed tge complaint because of that i already officially filed it.”

The congressmen endorsers are Gwen Garcia, Edgar Sarmiento, Anthony Bravo,  Arnel Ty, Rodolfo Albano, Francisco Matugas, Aurelio Gonzales, Joel Mayo Almario Romeo Acop Federico Sandoval, Vincent Crisologo, Mylene Garcia Albano, Pedro Acharon, Xavier Romualdo, Winne CAstelo Ferdinand Hernandez,  Jericho Nograles, Ace Barbers Frederick Abueg Jan Nieto Roger Mercado Lorna Bantuigan.

There were also signatures for the congressmen of the 3rd district of Palawan Acosta, Gil “Kabarangay” , 2nd distruct of Zamboanga Sibugay Hofer, Ann K. and the 4th district of Cavite Austria Barzaga, Jennifer

The congressmen signed the endorsement and swore before the secretary general cesar pareja  inside Alvarez’s office.

The Gadon complaint alleges,  Culpable violation of the Constitution, Corruption, Other high crimes and  Betrayal of public trust.

Gadon told media, “i believe i have a strong case when it comes to trial in the senate kasi all the grounds of impeachment here are backed up with official public documents

hindi pa narelease lahat kasi iba in process of collating i learned from the office of the cleark of court of the sc  that the records on the  expenses are still with the resident COA auditor and they have to retrieve it. the SALN i might be able to get it tomorrow …i will go to t e Sc tomorow to get copies of the SALN medyo madami from 2010 and 2017 including the original and revised. some document are consisting of several pages. “

Gadon also said, “ strongest ko diyan yung SALN di tama yung dineclare na assets and liabilities the probability of the taxes not being paid sufficiently and that yung mga travel expenses and allowances given to her staff on travel …and yung resolutions ng SC na mismong ibang justices ay kunuwestyon because di ito dumaan sa en banc

kasama na rin yung luxury vehcile this is the first time that the CJ has purchased  such amount of luxury vehcile…while the other justices are using vehciles ranging from 1M to 1.5M. sa kaniya is 5.1m  yung vecuole bullet proofing is almost 4M  bulletproofing di naman inapprove ng en banc. undeclared lawyers fees sa saln. “

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’s complaint had been left to congressmen weeks ago for their own perusal. Gadon in the meantime secured certified true copies of documents  that will be used in the complaint from the Supreme Court, including Sereno’s SALN.

Earlier House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez confirmed that  congressmen are already working an impeachment case against  Sereno.

Alvarez revealed many congressmen have signfied their intent to endorse the complaint.

“sa totoo. marami na. kaya lang sabi ko time muna tignan muna natin yung ebidensiya kasi ayoko namang magmumukha tayong katawa tawa doon sa impeachment court pupunta tayo doon tapos hindi tayo handa. di ba nakakahiya naman yun”

asked for the reasons, Alvarez said, “hindi ko alam wala namang sinasabi pero maraming baka siguro dahil nakita nila na ang laki ng prublema ng judiciary eh di naayos yung prublema nirererklamo yan unang una tignan mo ang tagal ng pruseso ang tagal makakita ng hustosya dito sa bansang ito wala namang nangyayari para sa akin yun yung pinakamabagal na branch of government.”

Alvarez told a media interview that he doesnt see any problems getting congressmen to endorse the complaint now filed in the Lower House.

“yan ay umuusad na dito sa HoR kailangan namin ipruseso yan dahil nga merong nagfile ng impeachment against her inaantay lang namin yung mga cerified true copies yung mga allegations at tingin ko naman walang prublema sa mageendorso”

Alvarez however ruled out the “express” transmittal of the complaint to the Senate for trial, insisting that it will be heard by the Committee on Justice so that they can amply prepare for the trial. under the constitution and the rules of the House, an impeachment complaint maybe sent to the senate without hearings at the Lower House if it is endorsed by 1/3 of the members of the House. “dadaan yan sa committee on justice para handa kami na humarap sa impeachment court kasi mahirap naman pagka halimbawa pinadala natin kaagad yan sa senado sa imepachment court at kulang kulang ang dokumento namin syempre magmumukha naman kaming kenkoy doon”

asked if this is an indication that the impeachment complaint will have an easy time at the House, Alvarez said, “depende sa ebdiensiya  kasi mahirap naman pag pangunahan natin wala pa namang pagdinig na nangyayari ngayon pagka sa oras na makita natin na talagang matibay yung ebdiensiya tuloy tuloy yan sa impeachment court”

Alvarez went on to discuss the many problems that plague the judiciary today, bringing up the slow pace of cases at the Court of Appeals. Alvarez previously wanted the CA abolished after it ruled against the House of Representatives in the case of the Ilocos 6. Alvarez says he is proposing to give more power to the Regional Trial Courts and Municipal Trial Courts  then do away with the CA.

“ kaso  RTC pinakamahina 5 taon. o pagdating sa CA pinakamahina 5 taon SC, ganun din eh bakit di naaddress yung prublema kaya nga meron akong proposal alam niyo kung basahin niyo yung constitution eto ha tignan niyo lang yung cosntitution walang nakalagay na CA diyan  dinagdagdan lang natin yung pruseso ang naging prublema natin hindi natin inaaddress yung prublema saan ba  nandoon yung maraming kasong nakapending eto sinasabi ko  kaya ako nagpagawa ng bill para iaddress yung prublema maraming prublenma diyan sa RTCs at sa Muncipal trial courts yung isang  kaso na finile mo pinakamaraming hearing niyan sa isang taon 3 4 tapos doon sa 3 4 na yan nakaschedule sigurado meron pa isang schedule na magmnove for postponement yung kabilang party meron diyan minsan yung judge hindi available  dahil merong conference so 2 na lang. o anong solusyon gumawa tayo ng maraming korte RTCS at municipal trial courts tignan natin yung population ng isang region kailangan proprotionate yung paglagay natin ng RTCs at municipal trial courts  proposal ko diyan damihan yung RTCs damihan yung  municipal trial courts magkaroon ka ng specialized courts  merong korte na maghandle ng civil cases merong korte na maghandle ng criminal cases tapos kung maraming  drug related cases meron ding korte na maghdanle noon lakihan mo jursidiction ng municipal trial courts tapos gawin mong final and executory yung decision ng RTCs wala nang CA. ang appeal na lang kung ano nakasulats a constitution na appealable directly to the SC yun na lang pupunta sa SC kasi yung CA wala naman yan sa listahan ng cosntitution dinadagdagan lang natin yung judicial process paramagtagal eh pwede namang  dito pa lang sa RTCS tapos na nabigay mo na yung ano naserve mo na yung justice sa tao so compliant na tayo sa early disposition of cases na minanmandato ng constitution”

asked if abolishing the CA would clog court dockets more, Alvarez said, “hindi kasi sinasabi ko yung dapat decision ng RTC gawin ng final and executory kasi nangyayari ginagamit lang  yan ng abugado na delaying tactics imbes na serve mo na yung justice sa complainants pupuntra ulit sa CA madalas nagkakalutuan pa doon. nakalagay naman sa constitution kung ano yung  kailangan mong dalhin sa SC di yun na lang mga kasong yung yung nakalista doon bakit pa natin  dagdagan yan”

The House Minority remains non-committal to endorsing the impeachment against Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno  but says it will use the plenary deliberations on the 2018 budget to hold Sereno accountable.

House Minority Leader Danilo Suarez said, “ang sa budget hearing ireraise ko yung question ng undeclared SALN niya. and thats enough for us to defer budget. we are not going to give budget for the SC if youre not going to answer its a constitutional body..we cannot increase or decrease their mandated benefits btu we have a right to zero their budget. congress can allocate funds thats our job if we say you dont deserve it unless you reogranize we have that authority also.”

Suarez added, “we havent seen…wala pa sa akin, i will ask that question  matagal nang di binubuksan  yan yang issue na yan thats a very sensitive issue yung kaniyang kinita di niya dienclare ganiyan nangyari kay cj corona”

Buhay Party List Rep. Lito Atienza for his part revealed he has already added his signature to the endorsers of the impeachment complaint against Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista.”ive already endorsed it. Comelec i believe chairman andy can no longer be chairman, smartmatic should no longer be allowed to run Philippine elections they cannot even run their own elections in venezuela. the tetsimony of the wife is very very damning critical essential na sianbi niya yung perang inuuwi ni andy galing sa samartmatic. “

The complaint against Bautista had already been endorsed by representatives gwen garcia, harry roque and abraham tolentino.

Meanwhile, Alvarez said the House will also work on the impeachment complaint filed against Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista. Bautista was impeaded in a complaint filed by lawyers Ferdinand Topacio and Jacinto Paras, covering the allegations of ill-gotten wealth by Bautista’s estranged wife. “pinpoproseso na rin yan ngayon siyempre andoon yan sa committee on justice ayaw ko naman pangunahan ang committee on justice  dahil kanilang hinehear na ngayon”

Alvarez says he and the Majority Leader Rodolfo Farinas are looking to address defects in the complaint. Alvarez has 10 session days to include the bill in the plenary’s order of business so that it can be referred to the Justice Committee. ”yun ang pinaguusapan din namin kahapon ni majority leader dahil nga bago namin irefer kailangan maayos yung form maayos yung substance nung complaint”