hearings on the impeachment case of Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno may last until February, Mindoro Oriental Rep. Reynaldo Umali said.
In a radio interview, Umali said, once one third of the House of Representatives votes in favor of the impeachment complaint before Holy Week, Sereno could face a possible impeachment trial by May.
Umali, chairman of the House committee on justice, said the panel will focus on the accusation of betrayal of public trust against Sereno as the hearings resume this month.
Congress will resume session on January 15.
Sereno is facing impeachment over 27 acts that allegedly constitute betrayal of public trust, culpable violation of the Constitution, graft and other high crimes.
Before the Holiday break, the justice committee only finished five to six acts out of the 27.
“Out of 27 allegations, nandoon pa lang tayo sa 5 or 6 na nako-cover natin. Marami pa ang gustong tumestigo. It will take some time. Siguro aabutin pa tayo hanggang Pebrero,” he said.
Umali said there are still SC justices and officers who want to testify in the next hearings.
Once the panel finished discussing all the acts, a committee report will be transmitted to the plenary for possible vote before the Holy Week break, Umali said.
It will be elevated to the Senate impeachment court by the month of May, he added.
“Malamang sa May na siguro, kung saka-sakali during break namin file sa impeachment court. Kaya sa Senado na ang hearing,” the solon said.
Meanwhile, Umali clarified that the House is not expediting the procedure but only fulfilling its mandate.
“Hindi naman po natin minamadali ito dahil talagang gusto ng Kamara de Representantes e makompleto natin ito para pagdating natin sa trial ay smooth sailing kung saka-sakali,” he said.
To date, the committee had already deliberated on the issues like the delay in granting survivorship claims of families of late justices and an order creating the Judiciary Decentralized Office.