'Insufficient in substance': House halts impeachment raps vs De Castro, 6 justices

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 11 2018 12:04 PM

MANILA - The impeachment case against Chief Justice Teresita Leonardo De Castro and 6 other justices is insufficient in substance, the House Justice Committee ruled on Tuesday.

Twenty-three members voted in favor of dropping the charges against the magistrates.

The complaint against De Castro and her 6 colleagues stemmed from their decision to oust former Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno last May through unprecedented "quo warranto" proceedings that effectively halted impeachment proceedings.

Her co-accused include Associate Justices Diosdado Peralta, Lucas Bersamin, Francis Jardeleza, Noel Tijam, Andres Reyes Jr., and Alexander Gesmundo.

The 7 were accused of culpable violation of the Constitution and betrayal of public trust.

"The SC is the final arbiter of controversial issues," House Justice Committee Vice Chair Strike Revilla said.

"Assuming sa pagkakataon na ito na nagkamali ang korte, culpable violation at betrayal of public trust na ba ito?" he said.

"The recital in the complaint does not constitute the offense charged," he said.

Other members of the committee said the House should respect the judiciary's independence by not trying to reverse some decisions by threatening magistrates with ouster cases.

"Impeachment is not a mode of appeal. It does not exist to review decisions of the Supreme Court," Angkla paty-list Rep. Jesulito Manalo said.

"We will not be the body where an appeal can be made if people are not happy with a decision," he said.

Sereno was removed from office for failing to file her Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth when she was still a law professor at the University of the Philippines.