Umali warns of Sereno's arrest if she snubs subpoena in impeach proceedings
Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno could be arrested if she would ignore a possible subpoena compelling her to attend the hearings on the impeachment complaint against her in the House of Representatives, a lawmaker said on Sunday.
In a radio interview, Oriental Mindoro Representative Reynaldo Umali, chairman of the House committee on justice, said the subpoena has a "coercive power," as this would be issued by the House, which is a co-equal branch of the judiciary.
"If it (subpoena) is not followed, we will be forced to issue a warrant," he said.
He said Sereno could not invoke the separation of powers of the legislative and the judiciary because the chief magistrate has the constitutional mandate to face the impeachment complaint.
Umali said the signature of Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez would not be needed in the issuance of a warrant of arrest because his committee is performing the constitutional mandate of hearing a verified impeachment complaint.
Lawyer Larry Gadon, in his impeachment complaint, accused Sereno of culpable violation of the Constitution, betrayal of public trust, corruption, and other high crimes for her alleged litany of lapses including untruthful declaration of her wealth.
But Sereno denied the allegations, saying Gadon's complaint was baseless and came from fake news. DMS