MANILA, Philippines—The Liberal Party on Thursday rebuked one of its members for endorsing the impeachment complaint against Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.
In a joint statement of LP President Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan and LP Secretary-General Congressman Kit Belmonte, the party called Representative Edgar Mary Sarmiento (1st district, Samar)’s move “a cause for concern.”
Sarmiento belonged to the 25 House of Representatives members who supported the impeachment complaint against Sereno, filed on August 30 by lawyer Lorenzo Gadon.
“While the party has yet to firm up its position on the matter, and while it recognizes the right of its members to take a position on issues, Representative Sarmiento could have consulted the party leadership before making such important decision,” the statement read.
The party recognized that impeachment process is guaranteed by the 1987 constitution and it part of the system of checks and balances.
“However, it is a double-edged sword because while it can strengthen democracy in a fair and impartial process, it can also destroy institutions if used to go after officials perceived to be uncooperative. Objective discussions among party members will help thresh out issues like this.”
The impeachment complaint against Sereno was based on her alleged betrayal of public trust for purchasing a Toyota Land Cruiser worth P5.1 million and her alleged failure to declare her lawyers fee of P37 million, among others.
The House will discuss the impeachment complaint on September 7.