Speaker Alvarez: Robredo, Sereno may face impeachment




Vice President Leni Robredo and Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno face the prospect of impeachment as the 17th Congress enters its second year, according to Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez.

“That’s why this second year of Congress may become more colorful,” the House leader told the Inquirer in an interview on Saturday.

Alvarez said he was collecting evidence to build possible impeachment cases against Robredo and Sereno, who had incurred his displeasure on separate occasions in recent months.

“Before I file that, I need to complete all the supporting documents. Like the case with the Chief Justice, once the documents are ready, I will not hesitate to file,” he said.

Alvarez insisted he was not “threatening” the two officials, as he would do what he said should he be able to gather enough evidence.

Sought for comment, the Supreme Court said it would not comment on political issues.

Robredo had no immediate reply when the Inquirer contacted her staff for comment.

Asked why he was targeting Robredo and Sereno when President Duterte himself avoided directly attacking either of the two high officials, Alvarez said it was the nature of his office.

“Let’s understand the President. He cannot impeach anyone. He cannot impeach the Vice President or the Chief Justice. But we in Congress, especially the House, have the exclusive right to impeach the Vice President, the Chief Justice, the justices of the Supreme Court and [officials of] constitutional bodies,” he said.

“That’s why I’m speaking out,” he added.

Earlier, Mr. Duterte assured Robredo that she would finish her term. He also said he would abide by the Supreme Court’s decisions on pending cases involving his administration.

Alvarez said the Vice President “betrayed the public trust” in March when she sent a video message to a UN side meeting criticizing the government’s war on drugs.

On March 16, Robredo’s message to the side event of the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs meeting in Vienna sparked a political firestorm as it coincided with the filing of the first impeachment case against Mr. Duterte.

Two impeachment complaints were subsequently filed against Robredo, but no House member came forward to endorse either of them, prompting the filers to submit them to the Speaker’s office.

Alvarez has not acted on the two complaints yet.

As for Sereno, the Speaker said he was investigating reports that she tried to influence Court of Appeals (CA) magistrates to defy the House in the case of six Ilocos Norte officials who were cited in contempt and placed under House custody in May.

He said he would move for Sereno’s impeachment “if there’s truth to the reports.”

Alvarez said the investigation would determine whether Sereno forced CA Presiding Justice Andres Reyes Jr. to sign a joint statement asking the House to reconsider its show-cause order against three CA justices, who earlier ordered the release of the “Ilocos 6.”

He said he was also checking other reports that Sereno told the three CA justices not to comply with the House leadership’s orders placing the Ilocos 6 under detention, prompting their issuance of a release order granting the officials bail.

The six officials have been detained by the House good government committee since May 29 for refusing to answer questions about the alleged irregular purchase of P66.45 million worth of vehicles using tobacco excise funds at the behest of Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos.

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