Sereno dares House to immediately impeach her
Embattled Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno challenged on Friday the House of Representatives to immediately impeach her so she can answer all the allegations hurled against her before the Senate impeachment court.
Otherwise, Sereno said the congressmen should admit that there was no probable cause to proceed with the impeachment process.
"So they should have the courage to either own up that there's no probable cause, but the committee already said there is. And if there is, go to the Senate," she said in a forum with the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines in Quezon City.
Voting 38-2, the House committee on justice found probable cause to pursue the impeachment case against Sereno.
However, the House plenary has yet to vote on the impeachment complaint in order for the Articles of Impeachment be forwarded to the Senate.
But House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez has said they might wait for the decision of the Supreme Court on the quo warranto petition questioning the appointment of Sereno as chief justice before deciding on the impeachment case.
Sereno said the complaint against her has been pending in the House for about four months. "Sooner rather than later. Let's end this," Sereno said.
Despite President Rodrigo Duterte's denial of having a hand to oust Sereno, the chief magistrate wondered where Solicitor General Jose Calida was getting the imprimatur to file a quo warranto petition against her.
"We have to ask Solicitor General Calida from which impetus or authority his actions flows from. The President made on record he is not involved. But I guess we let people decide on that question," she said.
Sereno, who is on an indefinite leave, reiterated that she will not resign.
"If I resign, again what's the message?," she said, noting that what she has been fighting for is the truth.
"Is it too much to say I have to go through this if only to reignite the spirit of steadfast persistence?...I will go through it. It is an important point in our history. Our people must see there is still this kind of spirit," Sereno stressed.
But she refused to answer further questions that would affect the merits of her case, such as on her alleged failure to file some of her statements of assets, liabilities and net worth, particularly when she was still teaching at the University of the Philippines.
"You cannot accumulate wealth in UP. I have nothing to hide and I cannot hide anything because what is disclosed in my SALN is what there is. All the evidence points to a simple lifestyle, below the means we could have used for consumption," she said.
Sereno said further argument on her SALN will be part of her defense when she faces the Senate impeachment court.
She expressed confidence that the "baselessness" of the charges against her would come out.
"I am calm and battle ready," she added. Celerina Monte/DMS