House panel starts initial scrutiny of impeach raps vs CJ, 6 other SC justices
The House of Representatives justice committee begun on Tuesday its initial consideration of the impeachment complaints against Supreme Court (SC) Chief Justice Teresita Leonardo-De Castro and six other justices who ousted former top magistrate Maria Lourdes Sereno through a quo warranto petition.
Last Aug. 23, Albay 1st District Rep. Edcel Lagman, Akbayan Rep. Tom Villarin, Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano, and Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat filed the impeachment complaints against De Castro and Justices Andres Reyes Jr., Lucas Bersamin, Diosdado Peralta, Francis Jardeleza, Noel Tijam, and Alexander Gesmundo.
The complainants are accusing the seven of culpable violation of the Constitution, and betrayal of public trust.
Aside from Lagman, Alejano and Villarin, 15 members of the committee were also at the meeting.
De Castro, Bersamin, Tijam and Peralta are appointees of former President now House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who earlier vowed to expedite the proceedings so as not to disturb the legislative agenda of the lower chamber.
President Rodrigo Duterte appointed De Castro as Chief Justice despite her being just weeks away from retirement.
She is expected to retire on Oct. 8 when she reaches the mandatory retirement age of 70.
Gesmundo, Tijam, and Reyes are Duterte-appointees, while Jardeleza was an appointee of former President Benigno Aquino III.
Justice panel chair, Oriental Mindoro 1st District Rep. Salvador “Doy” Leachon earlier said the committee would handle the cases with “utmost impartiality.” /muf
READ: House panel chair says impeach raps will be handled with dispatch | House panel vows speedy proceedings of impeach raps vs magistrates | House justice panel may consolidate 7 impeach raps to expedite proceedings
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