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Sereno impeachment may not reach Senate, Drilon says

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon on Wednesday raised the possibility that the fate of Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno will be decided by the Supreme Court and not by the Senate sitting as an impeachment court.

“The possibility of the impeachment not going through is there. Why? Because of the statement of the leaders of the House of Representatives is that they will wait for the Supreme Court resolution [on the quo warranto petition],” Drilon told reporters when asked on the robe they will wear for the impeachment trial.

"The robe might be premature," he said in jest.

Drilon said if the Supreme Court rules that it has jurisdiction over the quo warranto petition and that there is basis to let Sereno go, the House of Representatives will no longer send to the Senate the articles of impeachment.

He said that is the reason House leaders thought it best to wait for the SC decision.

“Yes, they will wait. Their action will be governed by what the SC does. If the SC says that the quo warranto is not the correct remedy, then they may or may not send to us the articles of impeachment, if there is probable cause,” Drilon said.

“If the SC says they have jurisdiction and will decide on the merits, and says that the Chief Justice is not eligible or did not have the qualification, even if you don’t agree with that, that is what will be recognized as the state of things, and therefore the House of Representatives will not send the articles of impeachment and that’s the end of it,” he added.

Despite this possibility, Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III said preparations for the impeachment trial will continue.

“Bukas nga aayusin ko na 'yung impeachment rules. I cannot assume na hindi tuloy ['yung impeachment]. Delikado to assume, baka magulat ka na lang,” he said.

Earlier in the day, House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez said they want to wait for the SC decision "for practical purposes" before acting on the impeachment complaint against Sereno filed by lawyer Larry Gadon.

“Hindi kinakailangan (hintayin), pero for practical purposes, parang mas maganda na hintayin. Kasi nga kung tuloy-tuloy kami, tapos biglang in-invalidate ng Supreme Court yung appointment, so sino pa ang i-impeach natin?” he told reporters at the sidelines of the confirmation of his appointment as a reserve officer of Philippine Navy-Marines with a rank of colonel.

On Tuesday, Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas said that for him, the House of Representatives should wait for the SC to rule on the quo warranto petition against Sereno before voting on the impeachment complaint. —KBK, GMA News