THE impeachment proceedings to oust Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno could be viewed as just a matter of formality, but the chairman of the House committee on justice, Oriental Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo Umali, said his panel would need nine or 10 more hearings before voting on probable cause.
In an interview over radio dzBB, Umali noted that Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez has said that given the super majority of administration allies in Congress, the impeachment proceedings in the house could be a mere formality.
“Maybe. It is you who said that,” Umali said, referring to Alvarez.
The hearings in the House are an off-
shoot of an impeachment complaint filed by lawyer Lorenzo Gadon on Aug. 30, in which Sereno was accused of betrayal of public trust, graft and corruption and other high crimes.
Umali said he saw an end to the hearings in February.
The panel chairman said his panel would decide Jan. 15 whether to summon Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, who earlier refused to appear before the committee and testify against Sereno on the ground that he did not have any personal knowledge on the issued that would be asked of him.
“I will ask them [panel members] if they still have some questions to ask. If there is, then we will invite him [Carpio] again,” he said.
Umali on Sunday said Sereno should attend the hearings to present her side.
“If there is nothing we can get from [her] to refute any of these allegations, then I think—and based on my conversation with the other members, and considering also that we have a super majority in the House of Representatives—I think there will be sufficiency of votes to impeach her,” Umali said on the ANC news channel.