MANILA — House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco on Thursday promised to be "fair" in tackling the impeachment complaint lodged against Supreme Court Associate Justice Marvic Leonen.
Velasco said the impeachment rap against the magistrate was already handed to the House rules panel, which will then refer it to the plenary, to be assigned to the Justice committee.
"With Leonen impeachment, na-forward na natin yan sa Rules committee so they have 3 days from the day the session starts to be able to refer it to the committee on Justice na pinanghahawakan po ni chair [Leyte Rep. Vicente] Veloso. Definitely with chair Veloso at the helm... sigurado tayong fair po yung magiging trial regarding that impeachment complaint," Velasco said.
The Justice panel is tasked with initial deliberations to determine sufficiency in form, substance, grounds and probable cause of the complaint.
Should the complaint pass those tests, the full House will vote on the complaint. If one third of the House votes to impeach, the complaint will be sent to the Senate for trial.
The rap was filed last December by private complainant Edwin M. Cordevilla, secretary-general of the Filipino League of Advocates For Good Government or FLAGG.
The complaint has been endorsed by Ilocos Norte 2nd District Rep. Angelo Barba, cousin of Senator Imee Marcos and former Senator Bongbong Marcos whose electoral protest against Vice President Leni Robredo was junked by Presidential Electoral Tribunal handled by Leonen.
Leonen was the ponente of the ruling.
It alleged that Leonen committed betrayal of public trust when he failed to file his Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN) for 15 years during his tenure at the University of the Philippines.
The same claim was made against former Supreme Court chief justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, whose appointment was nullified for failing to file her SALN while teaching at the UP College of Law.
Leonen is one of the three remaining appointees of then President Benigno Aquino III to the tribunal—the others being Senior Associate Justice Estela Perlas Bernabe and Associate Justice Benjamin Caguioa.
—Report from RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News