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Alvarez confident of getting enough signatures to impeach Sereno

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Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez on Tuesday expressed confidence that there would be enough House members who would endorse the impeachment complaints against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno for the raps to be immediately transmitted to the Senate sitting as an impeachment court.

Still, Alvarez said he was not keen on transmitting the articles of impeachment without being heard by the House Committee on Justice.

Alvarez said he wanted to make sure that the House would enough evidence to prosecute the country's highest-ranking magistrate.

"Kung gusto lang namin na dumiretso sa impeachment court, kayang-kaya. Pwedeng gawin," Alvarez said.

"Pero ayaw kong gawin. Kasi gusto ko, dito pa lang i-hearing muna natin. Para makita muna natin kung may ebidensya ba o wala, whether it can stand trial in an impeachment court," he added.

Two impeachment complaints have so far been lodged against Sereno, one from Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption founding chairman Dante Jimenez and Vanguard of the Philippine Constitution Inc. president Atty. Eligio Mallari, and the other from lawyer Lorenzo "Larry" Gadon.

At the time of filing, Gadon's complaint have been endorsed by 25 congressmen, while Jimenez and Mallari's complaint has 16 endorsers so far.

For a complaint to proceed right away to trial, 98, or one-third of the 293 members of the House of Representatives, should sign as endorsers.

Alvarez said he did not want Sereno's case to follow what happened to the case of his predecessor, the late Chief Justice Renato Corona.

Corona was also impeached from his position for failing to disclose his Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth.

"Mahirap yan. Gaya ng ginawa kay Chief Justice Corona, diniretso doon sa impeachment court tapos nangangapa sila ng ebidensya, unfair naman yun," Alvarez said.

"Kasi kung pumirma sila lahat diyan, at nakuha natin yung required number of congressmen, aakyat agad yan sa impeachment court. We will be forced to prosecute na wala pa kaming hawak na matibay na ebidensya," he added.

Alvarez said that once he received the complaints against Sereno, it would immediately be scheduled for hearing by the Committee on Rules.

The House of Representatives is also expected to tackle another impeachment complaint, that of Commission on Elections chairman Andres Bautista. —NB, GMA News

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