House panel OKs report dismissing impeach rap vs anti-Sereno justices

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 25 2018 11:57 AM

MANILA - The House Justice Committee has approved the committee report and resolution dismissing the impeachment complaints against Chief Justice Teresita Leonardo de Castro and 6 other Supreme Court justices who backed the quo warranto petition that ousted Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.

The documents were approved by a vote of 22-0. House Speaker Gloria Arroyo was among those present who voted to dismiss the complaint.

De Castro, Justices Diosado Peralta and Lucas Bersamin were her appointees to the Court when she was president of the country.

The other justices included in the complaint are Francis Jardeleza, Noel Tijam, Andres Reyes Jr., and Alexander Gesmundo.

Justice Committee Chairman Salvador Leachon recalled that in the past 3 hearings, the panel ruled the complaints sufficient in form, consolidated the complaints and then declared the same as insufficient in substance.

Senior Deputy Majority Leader Rodante Marcoleta inquired if complainant, Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, submitted a rejoinder as he manifested he would. Leachon informed him that he merely noted Lagman’s manifestation as a motion for reconsideration is not sanctioned by the rules.

Vice Chair Henry Oaminal moved for the adoption of the report.

“The committee report is circulated, copies of which are circulated to all the members present and having read the committee report report and the resolution attached thereof, this representation therefore moves for the approval of this committee report and the resolution dismissing the consolidated complaints for impeachment against 7 justices of the Supreme Court.”

Twenty-two legislators, including Arroyo, voted for the dismissal while no one objected during the nominal voting.

The committee report will be transmitted to the plenary for the final approval whether to deny or approve or adopt the committee report, said Leachon.

The impeachment complaint alleged the justices, including De Castro who succeeded Sereno, betrayed public trust and culpably violated the constitution for granting the petition filed by Solicitor General Jose Calida.

De Castro, the most senior magistrate during the selection period, is set to retire on October 8.