House justice panel dismisses impeach raps vs 7 SC justices
In less than 10 minutes, the House of Representatives justice panel unanimously approved on Tuesday the committee report dismissing the impeachment complaints against Chief Justice Teresita Leonardo-De Castro and six other Supreme Court (SC) justices who ousted Maria Lourdes Sereno as the top magistrate.
With a vote of 22-0, the impeachment cases against the high tribunal’s magistrates are now officially dismissed.
The committee earlier found the complaints as sufficient in form but insufficient in substance thereby junking the consolidated complaints lodged against De Castro, Associate Justices Lucas Bersamin, Francis Jardeleza, Andres Reyes Jr., Alexander Gesmundo, and Noel Tijam.
The panel will then transmit the report to the plenary for its approval, committee chair and Oriental Mindoro 1st District Rep. Salvador “Doy” Leachon said.
Reps. Edcel Lagman, Gary Alejano and Teddy Baguilat, Jr. had accused the seven of committing culpable violations of the Constitution based on two grounds:
– Knowingly and maliciously defying the constitutional mandate that high officials of the government, like the Chief Justice, can only be removed from office solely by impeachment; and
– Arrogating the sole power of the Judicial and Bar Council to vet the qualifications of applicants to the judiciary and nominate in a shortlist the candidates qualified for appointment in the judiciary.
Meanwhile, Lagman, Alejano and Baguilat had accused De Castro, Peralta, Bersamin, Jardeleza, and Tijam of committing betrayal of public trust when they refused to inhibit themselves from participating in the adjudication of the quo warranto petition “despite their continuing ill will, bias and prejudice against Sereno.” /muf
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