House to approve Sereno impeachment within first 2 weeks of session

MANILA Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez is eyeing the conduct of a plenary vote on the articles of impeachment against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno within the first two weeks of the resumption of sessions on May 14.

Alvarez gave a more definitive timeline on the Sereno impeachment during a television interview over GMA-7's News to Go on Wednesday.

He earlier told media that he would heed the call of President Rodrigo R. Duterte to fast-track Sereno's impeachment, noting that "it will be done once we resume sessions."

Alvarez said the articles of impeachment against the chief magistrate, who is on leave, have already been approved at the committee level and are now up for plenary consideration.

"Ang talagang intensyon namin diyan ay aprubahan sana iyan bago kami mag-break noong nakaraang itong break lang namin (We originally intended to have these [articles of impeachment] approved before we took a break)," he said.

"Hindi lang umabot pero I'm sure, siguro pagbalik namin, baka first week or second week tapos na kami diyan, (However, we did not have enough time to do it. I'm sure once we resume sessions, we can approve these in the plenary within the first or second week)," he added.

Under the rules on impeachment, a vote of one-third of the total number of House members or at least 98 lawmakers - is needed to send the impeachment complaint to the Senate.

Alvarez, during the same interview, reiterated that the quo warranto case and impeachment proceedings are separate legal courses of action.

However, he said the impeachment process in Congress would be rendered moot and academic if the Supreme Court invalidates Sereno's appointment as Chief Justice.

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court held oral arguments on the quo warranto case Solicitor General Jose Calida filed against Sereno.

Duterte has called on Congress to speed up Sereno's impeachment, as he vowed to make sure that the Chief Justice will be out of the Supreme Court.

I'm putting you on notice that I'm your enemy and you have to be out of the Supreme Court, Duterte said, warning that if it needs the forced removal of the chief magistrate, he would do it.

I would ask Speaker Alvarez now, kindly fast-track the impeachment. She is bad for the Philippines, Duterte said in a press interview at the Francisco Bangoy International Airport shortly before departing for the People's Republic of China to attend the Boao Forum for Asia on Monday. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency