‘Impeachment committee’ issues show-cause order vs Sereno lawyers, CHR commissioner

Bea Cupin
‘Impeachment committee’ issues show-cause order vs Sereno lawyers, CHR commissioner
(UPDATED) Two Sereno spokespersons and a CHR commissioner need to explain why they shouldn't be cited in contempt for statements critical of the committee

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The House committee on justice on Monday, November 27, issued a show-cause order against two lawyers of Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno and a Commission on Human Rights (CHR) commissioner over statements they made against the committee. 

The following need to explain within 72 hours upon receipt or notice of the order why they should not be cited in contempt: 

  • Joshua Santiago, Sereno spokesperson
  • Aldwyn Salumbides, Sereno spokesperson
  • CHR Commissioner Roberto Cadiz

The committee is currently deliberating to determine if an impeachment case filed by lawyer Larry Gadon has probable cause. The statements made by the 3 individuals were in reaction to a committee decision to disallow Sereno’s lawyers to represent her before the hearing.

Cadiz, on November 20, hit the ongoing impeachment hearing, saying that the “law of the jungle” seems to be prevailing at the House of Representatives.

“The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court is about to be impeached in the Lower House where now seems to prevail the law of the jungle, or what might be euphemistically referred to as the law of the super-majority,” he said during a press conference at the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP).

Santiago and Salumbides had said that the House panel had turned proceedings into a “dog and pony show.” Deputy Speaker Cebu 3rd District Representative Gwendolyn Garcia brought up the two lawyers’ statements after an executive session. 

Prior to formally resuming their hearing, members of the House took turns criticizing the two lawyers for their statements.  

“We are trying our darnest best to be fair here. May hangganan din po ang aming pasensya (Our patience has its limits) and I hope we will not come to that,” said committee chairman Oriental Mindoro 2nd District Representative Reynaldo Umali in informal proceedings ahead of the formal hearing. 

Quezon City 6th District Representative Christopher Belmonte, who voted in favor of allowing Sereno’s lawyers to participate in the hearing, also agreed with Umali.

“It’s unfair for them to say that we’re rail-roading this,” he said. – Rappler.com 

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Bea Cupin

Bea is a senior multimedia reporter who covers national politics. She's been a journalist since 2011 and has written about Congress, the national police, and the Liberal Party for Rappler.