Alvarez defends Sereno impeachment hearing: We’re looking for the truth

Bea Cupin
Alvarez defends Sereno impeachment hearing: We’re looking for the truth
Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez says legislators who have criticized the justice committee should face the committee on ethics or rules

MANILA, Philippines – Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez on Wednesday, December 6, shielded the justice committee from criticism, saying it’s only out to ferret the truth in the impeachment complaint against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.

“I told them not to hurry the case because as you all see, through the hearings we’re conducting, the testimonies, the documents, slowly, we’re proving the allegations [against Sereno],” Alvarez said in a press conference on Wednesday.

The committee has held 6 hearings to determine probable cause in an impeachment complaint filed by lawyer Larry Gadon against Sereno.

The hearings have also been hit by critics, including House members.

The committee recently expressed dismay over statements made by Akbayan Representative Tom Villarin over how the impeachment hearings were going to be a “monumental fuck-up” if they did not stop the “charade.”

Villarin made the statement after Supreme Court Associate Justice Teresita Leonardo-de Castro testified before the committee on alleged infractions Sereno made in the High Court.

Alvarez has long insisted that impeachment cases, particular this one against Sereno, should be threshed out before the justice committee. The Speaker has said that he does not want a repeat of the “unfair” impeachment of the late chief justice Renato Corona.

Alvarez said Villarin’s actions should be subject to review of the House committees on rules and ethics.

“It’s not right,” he said, when asked about statements by House members criticizing the committee.

He also called on the people to be “objective” about the committee’s work. “They’re really working to bring the truth out,” Alvarez added.

Villarin defended his choice of words, saying he used words like “fuck up” only “in situations that call for them.”

“President Duterte and his ilk have been using them loosely which makes them just plain cuss and crass, without sense. I know that this will affect the sensibilities of others like my colleagues in the House. I also know when to use my small stash of these ‘colorful words’ and must know how to use them properly,” he said.

Still, Villarin said he’s ready to face any possible consequences.

“If the House leadership will exact sanctions against me, I will gladly face it head on. I won’t be cowed to say things that must be said nor hide the truth from the public,” said Villarin in a statement to media.

The committee is still hearing the case.

It expects more current and former justices to stand as witnesses. –

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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.