House leader: Leonen impeachment rap to wait until next year

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 18 2020 03:12 PM

House leader: Leonen impeachment rap to wait until next year 1
Supreme Court Associate Justice Marvic Leonen. Photo from the Supreme Court of the Philippines website

MANILA — A House of Representatives leader on Friday said the impeachment complaint against Supreme Court Associate Justice Marvic Leonen would have to wait until next year.

House Deputy Speaker Rufus Rodriguez told ABS-CBN News that the chamber went on Christmas vacation without acting on the complaint. 

“We adjourned without the complaint being included in the Order of Business. Therefore, the inclusion in the Order of Business and the referral to [the] Committee on Justice will be done next year after we resume sessions on Jan. 18, 2021. This day will be considered the 10th day,” Rodriguez said. 

Rodriguez explained that under House rules, the Secretary-General should refer the impeachment complaint immediately to the Speaker upon its receipt. The term “immediately” may mean on the same date or the next day at the latest. 

“I have no information on the date of actual receipt by the Speaker. If we assume that it was received by the Speaker on Dec. 7, the date when it was filed with the Sec-Gen, the Speaker has 10 days or up to Dec. 17, Thursday to have it included in the Order of Business,” the lawmaker said. 

But because the House no longer has a session on the said date, the complaint could not be included in the order of business, he pointed out. 

Leonen, whose term is to expire in 2032, is facing an impeachment complaint filed by private complainant Edwin M. Cordevilla, secretary-general of the Filipino League of Advocates For Good Government.

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It accused the magistrate of betrayal of public trust and culpable violation of the constitution for non-filing of statements of assets, liabilities and net worth for his years as a University of the Philippines educator and for failing to dispose of cases pending before him in the High Court and at the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal.

The House Justice Committee is led by former Appellate Court Justice Vicente Veloso, who now sits as a congressional representative for Leyte. 

Congress has gone on its annual Christmas vacation and will resume session next year.

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