A lawyer identified with the moribund Marcos-founded KBL on Wednesday filed an impeachment complaint against Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno. The STAR / MIGUEL DE GUZMAN, File

A lawyer identified with the moribund Marcos-founded KBL on Wednesday filed an impeachment complaint against Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno. The STAR / MIGUEL DE GUZMAN, File

25 House members endorse Sereno impeachment complaint
Audrey Morallo (philstar.com) - August 30, 2017 - 11:30am

MANILA, Philippines — A lawyer on Wednesday accused Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno of betrayal of public trust in an impeachment complaint endorsed by at least 25 members of the House of Representatives. 

Lorenzo Gadon, a former lawyer of Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and who ran for senator in 2016 under the former Marcos party Kilusang Bagong Lipunan, filed the complaint at the Office of the Secretary General at around 6:30 Wednesday evening.

Gadon cited the alleged illegal grant of allowances and the issuances of resolutions without the Court en banc’s approval as some of his grounds in seeking the removal of the chief justice.

“Yung mga travel expenses niya and the allowances given to her staff on travel yun ang mga malalakas na ebidensya diyan. Yung mga resolutions ng Supreme Court na mismong ibang justices ng Supreme Court ay kinukwestyon dahil hindi ito dumaan sa en banc,” Gadon said.

The endorsement by the representatives would pave the way for the complaint to be heard by the House justice committee.

“We hereby resolve to endorse, as we hereby endorse the attached verified complaint for impeachment of Atty. Lorenzo G. Gadon against Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes P.A. Sereno and strongly recommend that the same be given due course by the House of Representatives,” the resolution of endorsement read.

Earlier this month, an anti-crime group supportive of President Rodrigo Duterte filed an impeachment complaint against Sereno at the House, citing her alleged culpable violation of the constitution and betrayal of public trust through inexcusable negligence.

The complaint though did not gain any endorsement.

The Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption cited Sereno’s breach of the constitution in appointing lawyer Solomon Lumba as her staff head despite prohibitions for an appointed government official to hold another public post unless allowed by law.

The group also alleged that the chief justice violated the constitution by appointing Brenda Jay Mendoza as chief of the Philippine Mediation Center Office through a mere memorandum and not by a resolution by the Court en banc.

Sereno also provided members of her staff illegal travel allowances for their foreign trips which were charged to the funds of the High Court without the en banc’s approval, said the group.

The final ground for the move to remove Sereno was the alleged negligence of the chief justice in appointing key posts in the court.

“Twenty-five as of now but they will still gather tomorrow kasi nakauwi na yata yung iba,” Gadon answered when asked about the number of signatures he had gathered.

Chief justice: I have not done anything wrong

Just last week, Sereno expressed confidence that any move to remove her from office would not prosper as all her actions were “above board.”

“Just give it the right attention so that you understand that when the time comes, you are ready, but you should not be fazed because I have not done anything wrong,” she said in a town hall meeting in Cebu City last week.

“Nothing can be proven against me that will show that the chief justice has betrayed her oath of office. I have served the country with all faith and diligence. I will never waver from that pledge,” the chief justice added.

The Supreme Court, sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal, is hearing an election protest filed by former Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. against Vice President Leni Robredo.

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