The House of Representatives’ justice committee on Tuesday, September 4, said that the consolidated impeachment complaint versus current Supreme Court Chief Justice Teresita Leonardo-de Castro and six associate justices to be “sufficient in form.”
All of the 21 justice committee members who were present during the hearing considered the impeachment complaint filed by Magdalo Party-list Representative Gary C. Alejano, Albay 1st District Rep. Edcel C. Lagman and Congressman Teddy B. Baguilat Jr. of Ifugao to be sufficient in form. No member voted in the against the complaint.
“All these complaints have met the requirement of sufficiency in form. I therefore move that all the complaints that were just consolidated earlier [to be declared that] there exists a sufficiency in form,” Misamis Occidental Representative Henry S. Oaminal said.
Aside from the chief justice, Associate Justices Noel Tijam, Andres Reyes Jr., Alexander Gesmundo, Lucas Bersamin, Diosdado Peralta and Francis Jardeleza are also facing impeachment charges for voting in favor of the ejection of former Chief Justice Maria Lourdes A. Sereno.
The impeachment complainants indicted the seven members of judiciary department of allegedly breaching the Philippine Constitution. The complaint explained that they are fully aware that impeachment is the only mode or process of ousting impeachable government officials, like the Chief Justice of the Philippines.
Meanwhile, current Chief Justice de Castro as well as Associate Justices Peralta, Bersamin, Tijam and Jardeleza are also charged with betrayal of public trust for their nonacceptance to impede themselves in the judgement of the quo warranto petition.
On the question of sufficiency in form, Albay Representative said it is determined principally by finding whether the impeachment complaint is verified or not.
“The standard requirements of a valid verification are: the allegations are true and correct based on the personal knowledge of the complainants,” he said.
“The truth and correctness of the complainants’ averments are additionally based on their appreciation of the authentic records and documents, which are attached to the complaint. The verification in the separate complaints precisely affirmed and complied with the foregoing requirements,” Lagman added.
After the complaint was proclaimed sufficient in form, Kabayan Party-list Representative Ron P. Salo moved for the adjournment of the impeachment proceedings to give enough time for the members to read the impeachment complaint prior to deciding the sufficiency in subject matter.
The next hearing for the impeachment complaints against the chief and associate justices was rescheduled on September 11.
The House of Representatives’ justice committee earlier strengthen the seven impeachment complaints upon the motion of Ako-Bicol Party-list Representative Alfredo A. Garbin Jr. Garbin said that the accusations should be consolidated considering that the grounds of impeachment are “founded onn the same facts, or forming part of a series of alleged offenses of similar character.”
Lagman backed the consolidation to speed up the impeachment process. He stressed out that the allegation for culpable violation of the Constitution should be filed against the seven civil officers.
The argument is also the cause for mixed reactions to De Castro’s appointment as chief justice. A vocal critic of Sereno, De Castro even given testimonies against the former in House of Representatives hearings before voting to remove her form office.
De Castro said her 45 years of government service, not her role in Sereno’s removal, was the foundation for her appointment as the chief justice. President Rodrigo Duterte also said he tapped De Castro since she was the most senior amongst the Supreme Court justices vying for the top position. She is schedule to retire on October 8 after a 40-day stint as the head of the Judicial Department. — CentrioNews.com