Umali: We want to make CJ Sereno's psych test public

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 4) — The House Justice Committee wants to disclose the results of Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno's psychiatric evaluation, as the panel is set to vote on the impeachment complaint this week.

Committee chair Reynaldo Umali told CNN Philippines Sunday they will make the documents and testimonies related to Sereno's psychiatric test public, the same set of results psychiatrists from the Judicial Bar and Council (JBC) shared with lawmakers in an executive session on February 27.

"We will declassify it so that we will use everything for purposes of our prosecution of the case before the Senate impeachment court," Umali said.

The committee members, however, have yet to vote on the move. Umali said the confidentiality rule during an executive session may be lifted if majority of the lawmakers vote for it.

During the final impeachment hearing last week, Umali threatened to cite members of the JBC in contempt for insisting details of Sereno's psychological tests were confidential.

This prompted the psychiatrists who evaluated Sereno when she applied for Chief Justice to testify in an executive session.

While the JBC psychiatrists remained mum after the executive session, Dr. Geraldine Tria, a psychologist who was invited as an expert witness, told lawmakers she believes Sereno is unfit to become Chief Justice.

"There (are) strong indicators five out of nine are actually manifested, like grandiosity, unlimited power, sense of entitlement, interpersonally exploitative in order to take advantage of others to achieve his or her own end," Tria said.

The Psychological Association of the Philippines (PAP), meanwhile, slammed the use of the chief magistrate's psychological tests in the impeachment proceedings, saying it was unethical.

READ: Psychologists dispute House justice panel assessment on Sereno's mental health

In the impeachment case, lawyer Larry Gadon claimed Sereno "failed in a psychiatric exam" prior to her appointment by scoring a low 4 out of 5.

Sereno's camp said the score does not mean an official failure in the test, especially if no troubling psychological conditions were found. They also argued the performance on such an exam is not an impeachable offense.

Despite criticisms from the PAP and Sereno's camp, Umali said the results of Sereno's psychiatric test will still be included in the articles of impeachment they will prepare against her.

The Chief Justice in a speech on Friday called for respect for the impeachment process "by allowing it to take the only allowed course under the Constitution."

She urged Congress to finally start an impeachment trial at the Senate and hit  her critics for resorting to various actions to malign her.

Once the panel finds probable cause to impeach her, the House plenary will vote. If at least one-third of the members of the House of Representatives vote to impeach Sereno, the complaint would go to trial at the Senate.

Sereno is accused of violating the Constitution, corruption, betrayal of public trust, and other high crimes which are grounds for impeachment under the Constitution. She repeatedly denied the allegations and asked for the complaint to be junked.