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House justice panel’s impeach articles’ plenary voting delayed

The delay in the crafting of the Articles of Impeachment against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno has led to the postponement of the plenary voting of the document which was earlier expected that the Articles of Impeachment, after the plenary voting, if the members of the House of Representatives vote to impeach her in plenary, it was then scheduled to be elevated to the Senate as the House prosecutor’s information against the embattled chief magistrate.

Oriental Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo Umali, the panel chairman, told reporters that members of his committee have yet to agree on specific grounds that will constitute the articles of impeachment against Sereno.
“We have yet to finish the Articles of Impeachment because there are some disagreements on how many grounds we will include,” said Umali.
“The whole idea is to present it as comprehensive as possible to show that this is really a very strong case and I believe so too.”

“We will be ready by then. When we schedule that hearing, either on Monday or Tuesday, we’re ready to present the Articles of Impeachment,” said Umali.
Umali denied that their failure to finish the draft Articles of Impeachment indicates that their case against Sereno is not strong.
“The whole idea is to present it as comprehensive as we could and we’ll just cross the bridge when we get there,” Umali said.
At the same time, Umali said the private prosecutors who will help them in the looming trial of Sereno in the Senate Impeachment Court will work pro bono.
“They are litigators. I’m sure they know their law, they know their case, and they know their evidence,” said Umali who earlier named former Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile as private prosecution panel adviser.
House majority leader Rodolfo Fariñas earlier said that the House will wait for the resolution of the quo warranto petition filed by Solicitor General Jose Calida against Sereno before the Supreme Court.
CJ on student tour
claiming innocence
Sereno on Tuesday blasted critics who have called for her resignation as she faces impeachment in the legislature and an ouster petition in the Supreme Court.
“The call for me to resign is not founded on reason but only on convenience,” the top magistrate on leave told students at the University of Negros Occidental Recoletos in Bacolod City.
“There are some who refuse to uphold the constitutional process of impeachment. They want peace. But what is peace if there is no justice?” she said.
Sereno has been making the rounds of schools and giving the same ‘I am innocent’ and ‘I am a victim of injustice’ speeches in different forums nationwide, with the same theme: That she is innocent of the charges and that she will tell the truth and answer the charges in the proper forum.
Not once, however, has she answered the charges directly, not even before the House justice panel’s charges. All her counter affidavit merely denied the charges.
“Peace is not the absence of conflict; peace is the presence of justice,” she claimed.
Some court employee and judge groups on Monday formally called for Sereno’s resignation during a Supreme Court Red Flag Day raising ceremony.
Erwin Ocson, president of the SC Employees Association, cited as grievance the alleged delays in the approval of workers’ promotions and benefits under Sereno’s leadership, on the second Red Day at the Supreme Court.
As she did with previous resignation calls, Sereno junked the groups’ plea for her to make the “sacrifice” of stepping down.
GMA online reported that Sereno was “very, very proud” of the judges of Negros Occidental regional trial courts who claimed they will remain impartial as she battles ouster attempts.
In a statement on Monday, the Negros Occidental Regional Trial Court Judges Association called for sobriety and prudence and urged their fellow judges to be non-partisan and allow due process to take its course.
The House justice committee has found probable cause to impeach Sereno. If the case against her hurdles the plenary, Sereno will be tried at the Senate impeachment court.
Sereno comes up with the same speeches asking to be given her day in the impeachment court, where she said she will answer accusations leveled against her.

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