MANILA— The House Committee on Justice may tackle the impeachment complaint against Supreme Court Associate Justice Marvic Leonen "next year," according to a ranking member of the panel, as lawmakers won't have enough time to deliberate on the matter ahead of their scheduled holiday break.
House Justice panel vice chair and Deputy Speaker Rufus Rodriguez told reporters Thursday that the complaint filed on Monday has yet to be referred to them.
"[W]e will be already having our recess sometime in December 18 so we will really not have material time... It will probably reach next year for the determination of form and substance," Rodriguez said.
Under House rules, the Speaker shall have the complaint included in the Order of Business within 10 session days from receipt following its verification. It shall then be referred to the Committee on Justice within 3 session days.”
The Committee on Justice will then deliberate and vote on the complaint to determine sufficiency of form, substance, grounds and probable cause.
A complaint that lacks any of these will be submitted by the committee to the full House for final dismissal. A complaint that passes the 4 hurdles will be submitted to the plenary for final approval. If the complaint gets the vote of 1/3 of lawmakers during the plenary session, the complaint goes to the Senate for trial.
However, Rodriguez conceded that Justice panel chair Leyte Rep. Ching Veloso would still be the one to decide if the hearings would indeed push through this year.
Leonen, who is set to retire from the high court in 2032, is facing an impeachment rap filed by private complainant Edwin M. Cordevilla, secretary-general of the Filipino League of Advocates For Good Government or FLAGG, with once-suspended lawyer Larry Gadon.
The complaint has been endorsed by Ilocos Norte 2nd District Rep. Angelo Barba, cousin of Sen. Imee Marcos and former Senator Bongbong Marcos whose electoral protest against Vice President Leni Robredo remains pending at the Presidential Electoral Tribunal.
The Supreme Court sits as the PET, and Leonen is member-in-charge of the case.
The PET recently dismissed Bongbong Marcos' appeal seeking Leonen's inhibition from the poll protest.
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.