Umali: House committee to include findings on Sereno's mental health in grounds for impeachment

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(File photo) Rep. Rey Umali

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 1) — Rep. Rey Umali says Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno should be impeached for betraying the public's trust about her mental condition.

Umali said this is among the grounds for impeachment against Sereno, which the committee will present to its members when they reconvene next week to decide whether or not there is probable cause to impeach her. 

Thirteen Supreme Court Justices eventually belied the statement of Sereno's spokespersons that claimed the Chief Justice was going on a 15-day wellness leave. A statement from the Supreme Court said that during an en banc meeting, Sereno had agreed to take an indefinite leave.

The Chief Justice eventually clarified, through her spokespersons, that she is taking a wellness leave indefinitely.

She explained she did not use the term "indefinite" earlier because it was not in the Supreme Court internal rules. 

Umali said, "Isa-cite na lang namin ito [We will cite this] as an example of the kind of mental disorder that she is suffering from that really made the other members of the Supreme Court disrespect her."

A show cause order was also issued by the Committee on Justice Thursday afternoon, asking Atty. Jojo Lacanilao, a spokesperson for Sereno, to explain why he issued a statement that Sereno took a wellness leave after the en banc session last Tuesday.

 

The order added Lacanilao had 72 hours to explain or it was possible for him to be cited in contempt.

Sereno's spokespersons refused to comment on Umali's accusations, but they did say they were ready to disprove all allegations in a possible Senate trial.

Lacanilao added, "Anything that they will present at the Senate, we will definitely question, we will definitely test kung ano ang veracity at credibility ng ipu-put up nilang witnesses."

[Translation: Anything they will present at the Senate, we will definitely question, we will definitely test the veracity and credibility of those they wiull put up as witnesses.]

Lacanilao said while it is easy to engage in a trial by publicity, they would rather hold their cards close to their chests for now as they prepare for a bigger battle in the Senate.