House justice panel may consolidate 7 impeach raps to expedite proceedings
In a bid to “expedite” the proceedings, the House of Representatives justice committee may consolidate the impeachment cases against newly-appointed Chief Justice Teresita de Castro and six other Supreme Court (SC) justices upon tackling it in a hearing on Sept. 4.
Oriental Mindoro 1st District Rep. Doy Leachon, the chair of the panel, said this in a press briefing on Monday.
“Probably we can coordinate with the complainants if we can try and hear them simultaneously and jointly. Considering also that the subject matters, the course of action on the issues concerned are similarly situated,” Leachon said.
“We can make the consolidation to expedite the process,” he also said.
The lawmaker said the seven impeachment complaints would be referred to his committee once their session resumes on Tuesday.
He also reiterated his earlier assurance that their committee would deal with the impeachment complaints with “greatest impartiality.”
“We will remain independent. I can assure you that under my watch, with the 55 members of the committee, we will deal with these impeachment cases with the greatest impartiality and we will resolve the issue as soon as we can,” he said.
Leachon meanwhile said De Castro’s appointment as the new top magistrate won’t affect the impeachment case against her.
“Walang naiba; she (de Castro) is still an impeachable official,” he said.
Last Thursday, Albay 1st District Rep. Edcel Lagman, Akbayan Rep. Tom Villarin, Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano, and Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat filed impeachment complaints against De Castro, and Associate Justices Andres Reyes Jr., Lucas Bersamin, Diosdado Peralta, Francis Jardeleza, Noel Tijam, and Alexander Gesmundo.
House Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo earlier vowed to expedite the proceedings so as not to disturb the legislative agenda of the lower chamber. /je
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