A lawyer on Wednesday has secured the endorsement of 25 members of the House of Representatives to impeach Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno for supposed culpable violation of the Constitution, corruption, betrayal of public trust, and other high crimes.
Lawyer Lorenzo Gadon stood keen that the case is solid to dismiss Sereno from public office on violations by failing to reveal her existent assets and net worth, buying a luxurious car with public funds and compelling judges to challenge the Duterte administration.
“I believe I have a strong case when it comes to the impeachment trial in the Senate because all the grounds for impeachment here are backed up by official documents,” Gadon told reporters.
The complaint stated that Sereno committed corruption when she allegedly used public funds by purchasing a brand-new Toyota Land Cruiser 2017 model as her personal vehicle, costing P5 million; staying in lavish hotels during conferences inside and outside the country, by riding on business or first class trips with her staff and security; and by bringing huge support of lawyers in her overseas trips.
Moreover, the complaint alleged the chief justice of committing obstruction of justice by ordering the Muntinlupa Judges not to issue warrants of arrest against Senator Leila De Lima; deviate justice by meeting the Presiding Justice and Associate Justices of the Court of Appeals and instructing them not to comply with the processes of the lower house and to question its processes before the Supreme Court; and by failing to report her attorney’s fees and the appropriate taxes.
The complaint added that Sereno betrayed public trust when she hired an Information Technology consultant with an excessive compensation in violation of existing laws and by sending a misdirected reply to President Duterte on the drugs-linked judges thus triggering a collision between the Presidency and the Judiciary; prevented the CA Justices to do a courtesy call on Duterte; and gave her staff foreign travels with travel allowances without approval of the Court en banc, in violation of the Constitution.
“As of 6.30 pm my complaint against Chief Justice Sereno for impeachment has been received by the House of Representatives Office of the Secretary-General. In so short a time, we were able to gather 25 endorsers,” Gadon said after filing the complaint.
Among lawmakers who signed the complaint are Deputy Speakers Gwendolyn Garcia, Mylene Garcia-Albano Ferdinand Hernandez, and Frederick Abueg ,1st District Samar Rep. Edgar Mary Sarmiento, COOP NATCCO Party-list Rep. Anthony Bravo, LPGMA Party-list Rep. Arnel Ty, Isabela 1st District Rep. Rodolfo Albano, Surigao del Norte 1st District Rep. Francisco Jose Matugas II, Pampanga 3rd District Rep. Aurelio Gonzales, Jr., Davao Oriental 2nd District Rep. Joel Mayo Almario, Antipolo City 2nd District Rep. Romeo Acop, Malabon City Rep. Federico Sandoval II, Quezon City 1st District Rep. Vincent Crisologo, South Cotabato 1st District Rep. Pedro Acharon, Camiguin Rep. Xavier Jesus Romualdo, Palawan 3rd District Rep. Gil Acosta, Zamboanga Sibugay 2nd District Rep. Ann Hofer, Quezon City 2nd District Rep. Winston “Winnie” Castelo, PBA Party-list Rep. Jericho Jonas Nograles, Surigao del Norte Rep. 2nd District Robert Ace Barbers, Manila 2nd District Rep. John Marvin Nieto, Southern Leyte Rep. Roger Mercado , Cavite 4th District Rep. Jennifer Austria Barzaga, and Davao Occidental Rep. Lorna Bautista-Bandigan.
Gadon also showed a copy of the Resolution of the Endorsement signed by the solons and the received copy of the impeachment complaint.
“These are the honorable congressmen and congresswomen who signed the impeachment complaint. This has been acknowledged before Honorable Cesar Pareja, the Secretary-General,” Gadon stressed.
Gadon added that solons endorsed his impeachment complaint because they believed it has a strong basis.
“Naniniwala sigurado sila sa grounds,” Gadon said.
The lawyer also expressed confidence that more endorsers will sign the complaint.
“But as of now there are already 25 who endorsed the complaint. Because of that, I officially filed it,” He said.
He expressed confidence that the impeachment complaint will have a strong case when it goes to trial in the Senate.
“Because all the grounds of impeachment here are backed up with official public documents. Di pa na-released lahat kasi yung iba in-process pa of collating and I learned from the Office of the Clerk of Court of the SC that the records on the expenses are still with the Resident Commission on Audit (COA) Auditor and they have to retrieve them,” Gadon said.