House will junk impeach bid vs SC justices — Leachon

October 21, 2018

A HOUSE leader yesterday said the 292-strong House of Representatives will immediately act with finality on the dismissal of the consolidated impeachment complaint against six justices of the Supreme Court and newly-retired Chief Justice Teresita Leonardo-De Castro after the Halloween break.

Oriental Mindoro Rep. Salvador “Doy” Leachon, who chairs the House Committee on Justice, said the plenary will act on the matter during the first week of the resumption of Congress’ session on November 12 after its month-long recess.

“We will act on it immediately after the resumption of session,” said Leachon, referring to the first week of session after the break.

Leachon reiterated that the plenary is expected to affirm the recommendation of his panel to junk the impeachment complaint against de Castro, Associate Justices Diosdado Peralta, Lucas Bersamin, Francis Jardeleza, Noel Tijam, Andres Reyes Jr. and Alexander Gesmundo for being insufficient in substance.
Earlier, the Leachon panel voted 23 against one dismissing the consolidated impeachment complaint after it did not meet the requirement of sufficiency in substance.

The House rules on impeachment provide that the complaint can be declared sufficient in substance “if there is a recital of facts constituting the offense charged and determinative of the jurisdiction of the committee.”

The impeachment complaint was filed by Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat Jr., and Magdalo party-list Rep. Gary Alejano.

Earlier, Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo ordered the Leachon panel to dispose of the complaints at the soonest possible time to ensure that the process will not hamper the House’s legislative mill.

Impeachment complainants accused de Castro, Peralta, Bersamin, Reyes, Jardeleza, Tijam, and Gesmundo of culpable violation of the Constitution.

The seven justices allegedly took away the powers of Congress to impeach when they voted in favor of granting the quo warranto petition against dismissed Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.

They also said that “de Castro, Peralta, Bersamin, Tijam and Jardeleza are also charged with betrayal of public trust for their refusal to inhibit themselves in the adjudication of the quo warranto petition despite their patent and continuing ill will, bias and prejudice against Sereno as shown by their respective testimonies before the House Committee on Justice and their statements during the oral arguments in the quo warranto petition.”