MANILA, Philippines - A stack of documents measuring two feet high became a source of amusement for majority lawmakers at Tuesday's impeachment hearings at the House of Representatives justice committee.
House Minority Leader Edcel Lagman placed the stack in front of him to show the volume of documents that must be assessed by justice committee members before they vote if there is probable cause to send the impeachment complaints against Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez to the Senate for trial.
He said the documents were only delivered to him late afternoon Monday. He said justice committee members should be given more time to read through them.
Justice committee vice-chairman Rodolfo Fariñas later asked that the stack be removed "because I cannot see the one who is speaking because I am blocked."
Lagman promised to remove the stack. He said he only showed the documents to underscore the bulk of the voluminous submissions that justice committee members must go over before voting.
Parañaque Rep. Roilo Golez backed Fariñas's motion to remove the documents "because that obstructs the proceedings. At the proper time it should be shown."
He added: "That is what you call an attempt to obstruct justice."
His remarks drew laughter from his colleagues, especially Justice committee chairman Niel Tupas Jr. who said: "Let's remove the obstruction. Obstruction of justice, let's remove that."
Lagman, however, was not amused. "Mr. Chairman, those obstructions obstruct due process given the adequate time to assess these documents."