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Umali to impeach critics: ‘History will judge us on our conduct’

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Oriental Mindoro second-district Rep. Rey Umali on Wednesday said he would let history judge the conduct of the impeachment hearings against Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno by the House committee on justice, which he chairs.

“With our work, I hope history will judge us on how we conducted ourselves,” he said in response to criticisms leveled at him and the House panel.

Umali’s committee will vote on Thursday on the determination of probable cause in Sereno’s case. If probable cause is found, the articles of impeachment will be prepared and sent to the plenary for approval.

If impeached, Sereno will be tried before the Senate as an impeachment court.

Umali dismissed criticisms that the House impeachment hearings amounted to a kangaroo court that was biased against Sereno.

“This is a product of talagang masusing pag-aaral ng kaso, at yung iba nga evasive pa yung mga tanong kaya kami ay nagpapa-show cause order pa, or executive session, humingi pa kami ng immunity for them,” he said.

He also noted that committee members including Quezon City Rep. Kit Belmonte and Dinagat island Rep. Kaka Bag-ao had been allowed to ask questions. Even Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman was present during the first few hearings, though he stopped attending when nonmembers were barred from speaking.

“Kasama rin sila sa orchestra,” Umali said.