MANILA, Philippines – The House justice committee on Monday, March 19, approved the articles of impeachment against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.
The articles of impeachment are the formal set of charges the House will be presenting against Sereno once it faces the Senate, sitting as an impeachment court.
In order for Sereno to be impeached, at least one-third of all House members should vote in favor of the committee report once it is discussed during plenary.
But why does the House committee, voting 33-1, want the Chief Justice impeached?
Here’s a summary of the articles of impeachment as approved by the panel and discussed by its chairman, Reynaldo Umali, in his opening speech:
FIRST ARTICLE: Sereno committed culpable violation of the Constitution and/or betrayal of public trust by her failure to file and disclose assets in her Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN), a document all public officials must file. The following circumstances were cited:
SECOND ARTICLE: Sereno committed corruption and betrayed public trust in the “misuse” of P18 million in public funds. The following circumstances were cited:
THIRD ARTICLE: Sereno committed “culpable violation of the Constitution, betrayal of public trust and/or other high crimes” when she “arrogated unto herself” the powers of the Supreme Court as a collegial, deliberative, and consultative body in issuing resolutions and orders without the approval of the en banc. The following instances were cited:
Culpable violation of the Constitution, betrayal of public trust and other high crimes
Culpable violation of the Constitution and betrayal of public trust
FOURTH ARTICLE: Sereno committed culpable violation of the Constitution and/or betrayal of public trust in “deliberately and maliciously” abusing her post as Chief Justice and ex-officio chairperson of the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC). The following instances were cited:
FIFTH ARTICLE: Sereno committed corruption and betrayed public trust in “deliberately” undermining and violating the principles of separation of powers among the executive, legislative, and judiciary. The following instances were cited:
ARTICLE SIX: Sereno betrayed public trust in “wilfully and deliberately” failing to comply with her oath of office by “tyrannical abuse of discretionary power.”
Read the committee report as prepared by the Justice Committee here: