The House of Representatives Committee on Justice recently ruled that there is probable cause in the impeachment complaint filed against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.
According to Committee chairman and Mindoro Representative Reynaldo Umali, almost all the allegations in the complaint will make for strong articles for impeachment.
Umali said that the panel has created a ‘small group’ to draft the articles of impeachment against Sereno for approval of the house rules commitee and the plenary.
Lawyer Lorenzo Gadon has accused the Chief Justice of, among others, failing to declare her real wealth in her Statement of Assets Liabilities and Net worth, making questionable decisions without consulting her fellow magistrates and buying a luxury car using government funds.
Gadon also alleged in his complaint that Sereno had failed to fully declare P30 million in lawyer’s fees that she had earned as government lawyer in the Piatco case.
Political observers predict that the impeachment of Sereno by the House of Representatives is already a foregone conclusion.
Assuming they are correct, the articles of impeachment will then be forwarded to the Senate, which will act as an impeachment court.
This early, many are waiting for the composition of the House panel of prosecutors that will lead the charge against Sereno.
Umali said that the committe is thinking of getting the services of former Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, who was the presiding officer during the impeachment trial of the late Chief Justice Renato Corona.
Umali said that Enrile volunteered to join the team of prosecutors being assembled by the justice committee.
It will also be interesting to see if House Deputy Speaker and Marikina Representative Miro Quimbo will be willing to join the team that will prosecute Sereno, who was appointed by his political patron, former President Noynoy Aquino.
It will be recalled that Quimbo and former Representative Niel Tupas, Jr. of Iloilo led the House panel of prosecutors in the successful impeachment of Corona.
Tupas Jr., was chairman of the House committee on justice at the time and
Quimbo, was one of spokespersons of the prosecution panel.
Will Quimbo lend his ‘experience and expertise’ in prosecuting his political benefactor’s most controversial appointee?
We Filipinos have been accused of having short memories. To those who are prone to memory loss, perhaps now is the
suitable time to remind the public.
Before shifting his political allegiance to former President Aquino and now President Duterte, Quimbo was the former fair-haired boy of former President and now Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
He was first appointed as Executive Vice President of the Pag-Ibig fund in March 2001. He was later appointed President of the agency in March 2002, a position he held until his resignation in June 15, 2009.
In a 50-page resolution in August 2011, the Department of Justice (DOJ) recommended the filing of charges against Globe Asiatique President Delfin Lee and other officers of Pag-Ibig.
According to ABS-CBN news, “the DOJ found probable cause to charge officers of Globe Asiatique for syndicated estafa constituting economic sabotage for soliciting and paying off special buyers and / or ghost borrowers for their housing project in Mabalacat, Pampanga.”
The complaint alleges that Globe Asiatique made false representations to Pag-Ibig by submitting fake documents for loan applications for the purpose of obtaining the funds.
The case is now pending before the Supreme Court.
We believe that similar to the current P3.5 billion Dengvaxia vaccine controversy being investigated by congress, this massive operation resulting in government losses to the tune of P 6.65 billion could not have been orchestrated without the connivance of those holding key positions in the Pag-Ibig fund organization.
The DOJ resolution also recommended the referral of its findings to the Ombudsman so that an investigation could be initiated for violation of Republic Act 3019 against past and present officers of Pag-Ibig.
Whatever happened to the DOJ resolution years after it was released? Did Ombudsman Conchita Carpio -Morales, another appointee of President Aquino, ever investigate Quimbo and other Pag- Ibig officials?
Quimbo, cannot escape responsibility for this disgraceful housing project by virtue of the principle of command responsibility. This is a clear example of gross negligence or ineptitude, at best.
Even his resignation from the Pag-Ibig fund in 2009 is tainted with scandal. Although he cited his first congressional bid as the reason for quitting his post, it coincided with the investigation ordered by then Housing Secretary and former Vice President Noli De Castro into the clandestine efforts of the Pag-Ibig management headed by Quimbo to amend its charter.
During former President Aquino’s term, his political allies were generally exempted from being investigated and prosecuted.
Do politicians really think by supporting whoever is in Malacanang, they would easily be off the hook?
Under the Duterte administration, the self-righteous and those with a holier-than-thou attitude are in for a rude awakening.