On impeachment issue, De Castro ‘disrespecting’ constitutional processes — Lagman
Opposition lawmaker Albay 1st District Rep. Edcel Lagman on Tuesday said Chief Justice Teresita de Castro’s statement that she has no time to think about the impeachment case against her was a form disrespecting the constitutional processes.
“That is a posture of not respecting the constitutional processes. No less than the Constitution empowers Congress to initiate and prosecute impeachment complaints and the respondent should respect the processes of the House of Representatives,” Lagman told reporters in a press briefing.
Lagman was among the congressmen who filed impeachment complaints against De Castro and six other justices who ousted Maria Lourdes Sereno through a quo warranto petition.
Castro, when asked about the impeachment case lodged against her, had earlier said: “I have no time to think about it. I have very few weeks to work here. I do not want to be distracted by anything else. My schedule is full. I have so many activities these coming days.”
Lagman said he “believes in the reasonableness” of the members of the House despite the fact that majority of House members are allies of the administration.
“Tyranny of numbers should never deter the crusade and reforms particularly in the judiciary that has been tarnished because of its decision to oust Sereno,” he added.
Lagman has expressed confidence that their impeachment complaints are sufficient in form and substance, and would constitute probable cause.
He also stressed that their complaints were not an attack against the independence of the high court.
“It’s not a question of judgment and error, it’s a question of malice and the witting violation of the Constitution,” Lagman said.
“We’re saying that the judgment was orchestrated and there was a conspiracy to oust Sereno and the mode is unconstitutional,” he added.
De Castro only has just over a month as the country’s top magistrate before she retires on Oct. 8 when she reaches the mandatory age of retirement of 70.
Given this situation, Lagman floated the possibility that their complaints can be used to file criminal cases against her.
“It’s possible that the allegations in the complaint, despite the retirement, might be used in other cases against her,” the lawmaker said.
“I don’t want to predetermine (which case) but I think some private individuals might want to explore that possibility,” he added. /vvp
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