MANILA - The impeachment complaint against Chief Justice Teresita Leonardo-de Castro may become moot and academic if it hurdles the House of Representatives after her impending retirement, the chair of the House justice committee said Thursday.
Oriental Mindoro Rep. Salvador "Doy" Leachon, chair of the justice committee, said they will start the impeachment proceeding Tuesday next week, and they expect to finish it within more or less 55 days.
De Castro's tenure will only last for at least 45 days.
"If that would happen, granting for the sake of argument that the retirement would precede the termination of this case against her, definitely it would be moot and academic. But as to the other cases they would proceed," he told ANC.
De Castro was among the 7 Supreme Court associate justices who are facing impeachment raps for granting the Office of Solicitor General's quo warranto petition to oust her predecessor, Maria Lourdes Sereno.
The associate justices who are facing impeachment raps for voting in favor of Sereno's ouster were Diosdado Peralta, Lucas Bersamin, Francis Jardeleza, Noel Tijam, Andres Reyes Jr., and Alexander Gesmundo.
De Castro earlier urged her critics to move on, saying her appointment should not be viewed as a "reward" for her role in Sereno's ouster.
"I think people should just look at my track record. I don't think one incident like that would've been enough to elevate me in the highest position in the judiciary," she said.
Leachon has assured fair and impartial hearings even though they need to expedite the process. The 7 magistrates, he said, will be summoned in the course of the proceedings and will be allowed to be represented by their counsels if they wish to.
"I guarantee the complainants and the public that we'll have an impartial proceeding. It's just that, as also instructed by the House Speaker, we have to expedite this proceeding but we have so many things to do in Congress," he said.