Speeding up impeach cases vs justices seen as trick
A lawmaker who joined the filing of impeachment complaints against seven Supreme Court justices, including newly appointed Chief Justice Teresita De Castro, is raising suspicion over Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s order to expedite the proceedings.
Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman’s wariness over Arroyo’s directive was matched by Palace certainty, expressed by presidential spokesperson Harry Roque on Tuesday, that the complaints would be dismissed for “utter lack of merit.”
Lagman on Tuesday said Arroyo’s instruction to Oriental Mindoro Rep. Salvador Leachon, chair of the House justice committee, could lead only to the swift dismissal of the complaints.
Lagman said Leachon had admitted that his committee would hasten deliberation on the impeachment complaints to get it out of the way of other, more important measures.
Lagman said there was “implied” message in Leachon’s statement which meant “that they are going to (act) with dispatch, most probably dismissing the same so it will not impede on the legislative agenda.”
“I think the reason for an expeditious process not to impede on the legislative agenda is uncalled for,” he added.
Roque said it was evident in the 1987 Constitution that a decision made by the Supreme Court could not be considered an impeachable offense.
Lagman, however, insisted that deliberations on the impeachment complaints would not obstruct legislative work on other measures.
Leachon sought to ease Lagman’s worries.
“The only thing that the Speaker means is that we have to expedite the termination and disposition of these cases precisely because, number one, it is the budget season,” he said.
Aside from De Castro, the impeachment complaints were filed also against Justices Diosdado Peralta, Lucas Bersamin, Francis Jardeleza, Noel Tijam, Andres Reyes Jr. and Alexander Gesmundo.
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