Only one of the two impeachment complaints against Chief Lourdes Sereno has been deemed “sufficient in form and substance” by the House committee on justice.
Officials and members of the panel declared the complaint of lawyer Larry Gadon as “sufficient in form” with total votes of 30-4, while trashed the other one by the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption in a vote of 28-5.
The four lawmakers who voted against the impeachment complaint were Representatives Kaka Bag-ao, Carlos Zarate, Kit Belmonte, and Rav Rocamora.
Charges against Serano were based on hearsay and newspaper clippings, according to Bag-ao and Zarate.
“If we based on how we treated the (Rep. Gary Alejano) complaint, if these are based on newspaper reports then I think these are clearly hearsay, and we should not, sabi nga natin (as we said) this proceeding should not be used as a fishing expedition proceeding,” Zarate said.
However, House Justice Committee Chair Reynaldo Umali said the impeachment complaint filed against Sereno is far different from the case filed by Representative Alejano against President Rodrigo Duterte, which was dismissed on May 2017.
The House impeachment rules state that complainants must have personal knowledge of the allegations cited in the complaint for it to be sufficient in form.
The 1987 Constitution states the House of Representatives “shall have the exclusive power” to initiate impeachment proceedings against the President, Vice President, members of the Supreme Court, members of Constitutional Commissions such as the Commission on Elections or the Commission on Human Rights, and the Ombudsman.