Ombudsman ruling not yet final: SC

By Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 01 2011 06:04 PM | Updated as of Mar 02 2011 03:08 AM

MANILA, Philippines - The Supreme Court (SC) on Monday stood by its earlier position that the February 15, 2011 ruling of the court en banc is not yet final and executory amid the resumption of impeachment proceedings on 2 impeachment complaints against Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez in the Lower House on Tuesday.

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, SC administrator and spokesman Justice Jose Midas Marquez said this is in light of Gutierrez's filing of a motion for reconsideration (MR) on Monday.

The court en banc tackled Gutierrez's MR in Tuesday’s session, but called it again for next week's en banc session.

The House justice committee has decided to continue the impeachment proceedings, citing the lifting by the court of the status quo ante (SQA) order it issued in September that temporarily halted the proceedings.

"That's the view of the chairman and members of the House justice committee but the court says it is not yet final. The SQA cannot stand anymore because the (Gutierrez) petition was denied but again, the bigger picture is that the decision of the court is not yet final," Marquez said.

No action for now

The high court, Marquez said, will not act on the justice committee's move to proceed with its proceedings, for now.

"That's the decision of the [House] committee on justice. They voted on this, majority voted to proceed. The motion for reconsideration of the Ombudsman did not contain a prayer that, while MR is being decided, that an order be issued to stop proceedings in Congress. We leave that with Congress for the time being," Marquez clarified.

Impeachment complaint vs SC

On a statement made by House justice committee vice-chairman Rodolfo Fariñas that he intends to file impeachment complaints against the court's magistrates for its alleged encroachment into the House's exclusive power of impeachment, Marquez said the court will just wait for the filing.

"Let's see, let's just wait. If that's his decision...he is a member of the House justice committee... that's his decision," Marquez said.

Asked if the high court felt slighted by the justice committee's insistence to resume the impeachment proceedings against the court's call for judicial courtesy, Marquez said, "Wala naman, kasi sa kanila yun."