The Senate has long been waiting for the Sereno impeachment complaints to be filed with it by the House of Representatives. Led by Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, the senators have been discussing the rules to be followed during the trial, notably the “sub judice” rule – no comments for or against the parties concerned, just a stark reporting of the proceedings.
Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno herself has long been calling on the House to approve the impeachment complaints and send them to the Senate for trial. The House has held on to the complaints for five months now. It could have decided within days if It believed the complaints had merit – just as the House in 2011 needed only a majority caucus to send the case of Chief Justice Renato Corona to the Senate.
After five months of televised hearings during which the House leaders freely expressed their views that the impeachment complaints had merit, the House Committee on Justice finally approved the complaints by a vote of 33-1. But the entire House itself has not voted on them.
Last Monday, President Duterte himself called on Congress to fast-track the Sereno case. He was reacting to Sereno’s charge that the President appeared to be the “unseen hand” behind the anti-Sereno moves not only in Congress but also in the Supreme Court, where the solicitor general has filed “quo warranto” proceedings questioning her appointment in the first place.
In a speech just before leaving for the Boao Forum in China last Monday, the President asked Congress, “What’s taking you too long?” He asked the congressmen and Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez to fast-track the filing of the case with the Senate. “Huwag na ninyong dramahin (stop the drama), he said. In response, Rep. Rey Umali, chairman of the House Committee on Justice said the case will be brought before the House for voting on May 15, the day after it resumes its sessions on May 14.
So now it seems everyone is agreed the Sereno impeachment case must now go to the Senate. The chief justice has long said this, confident that she will have her “day in court” and will able to defend herself in the Senate. The Senate itself has long been meeting on rules to govern the trial. And now President Duterte has joined in with a call to the House to stop the drama and send the case to the Senate.
May 15 is still a month away and we hope all the parties concerned could hold back on their attacks on one another until then. We look forward to a full airing of the issues in the Senate, with Sereno given the fullest opportunity to defend herself. Impeachment may be more a political than a judicial process but the Senate has assured that it will carry out its duties with justice for all concerned. / Published /
ASEANEWS EDITORIAL CARTOONS:.
7.1. Lies, excuses – The Daily Tribune
7.2 ‘Stop the drama – send Sereno case to Senate’ – The Manila Bulletin
7.3. Runaway tourism – The Manila Standard
7.5. Rare news, good choices – The Philippine Daily Inquirer
Towards a BRI paved with empathy – For The Straits Times
Ravi Velloor- Associate Editor
A 35-year veteran of the trade, he has reported from across Asia, and the US. Formerly Foreign Editor and South Asia Bureau Chief of ST, he is as much at ease with global business and macro-economic issues as he is with diplomacy and international politics. A Jefferson Fellow, Ravi previously worked with Bloomberg News, Time Warner magazines and Agence France-Presse.– For The Straits Times
VEERA PRATEEPCHAIKUL FORMER EDITOR
– The Bangkok Post