Alvarez wants House to impeach Sereno in May

MANILA, Philippines – Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez wants lawmakers to approve the articles of impeachment against Supreme Court (SC) Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno shortly after Congress resumes session in the middle of May.

Alvarez said on Wednesday, April 11, that he is eyeing the plenary vote to be held within one to two weeks after session resumes on May 14. 

"Tapos na kami diyan sa committee level.... Ang talagang intensyon namin diyan ay aprubahan sana iyan sa plenary bago kami mag-break noong [nakaraan]," the Speaker told GMA-7's News to Go. 

(We're already done with that at the committee level.... Our original intention was to approve that at the plenary before we went on break.)

"Hindi lang umabot. Pero I'm sure, siguro pagbalik namin, baka first week or second week [of the session] tapos na kami diyan," Alvarez added.  

(It just wasn't finished in time. But I'm sure when we return, we'll be able to approve it within the first or second week of the session.)

The House justice committee already approved the articles of impeachment against Sereno on March 8 after holding months of hearings. (LOOK: Why the House panel wants to impeach Sereno)

The document is set to be brought before the plenary, where legislators will vote to either approve or reject it. If at least one-third of House members approve the committee's recommendation to impeach Sereno, she will be deemed impeached.

Approved quo warranto to render impeachment moot?

During the same interview, Alvarez said the House's impeachment proceedings against Sereno are not in conflict with the quo warranto petition filed by Solicitor General Jose Calida, which seeks to void the Chief Justice's appointment.

Alvarez, an Ateneo Law School graduate, argued that these are two separate proceedings. This is contrary to the view of the Makabayan bloc lawmakers, who said the quo warranto petition will cause lawmakers to be "deprived of their collective right to bring the impeachment process in the lower house to its logical conclusion." 

But asked if the impeachment process would be "moot and academic" if the SC rules in favor of the quo warranto petition, Alvarez agreed. 

"Tama po kayo, kasi sino pa ang ini-impeach namin kung fake pala siya na Chief Justice or fake pala siya na Justice, hindi ba? Hindi naman pala siya talagang Chief Justice... 'di wala na kaming ini-impeach," he said.

(You're right, because who will we be impeaching if it turns out she is a fake Chief Justice, right? If it will be decided she is not a duly appointed Chief Justice, then we would not have anyone to impeach.) – Rappler.com

Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda writes about politics and women’s rights for Rappler. She covers the House of Representatives and the Office of the Vice President. Got tips? Send her an email at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or shoot her a tweet @maracepeda.

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