Impeachment of SC justice accused of plagiarism to be decided in February
The House of Representatives will decide by the first week of February whether to impeach Supreme Court Justice Mariano del Castillo, an administration lawmaker said Monday.
Iloilo Representative Niel Tupas Jr., House justice committee chairman, said that if the House voted to impeach Del Castillo, his case would be brought to the Senate even if it would be trying the impeachment case against Chief Justice Renato Corona.
“If we vote in favor of the impeachment, there’s a possibility that it would also go up to the Senate. There are just two possibilities in the Del Castillo case—either impeachment or dismissal (of the impeachment complaint),” Tupas said in an interview.
Del Castillo was accused of plagiarism. He supposedly lifted passages written by international legal experts and used them in a Supreme Court ruling he authored without citing his sources.
The decision dismissed a petition filed by Filipino women, who claimed to have been sexually abused by Japanese soldiers during World War II.
The House committee on justice voted 40-7 on December 7 to pursue Del Castillo’s impeachment after it concluded that all evidence, indicating that he had betrayed the public trust, was sufficient.
Tupas said the House could no longer delay Del Castillo’s impeachment “because under the Constitution, we only have 60 session days to complete the process. And as of today, we are already on the 52nd or 53rd session day, so we’ll have to finish it by the first week of February.”
Tupas said that after Congress shall have resumed its session on January 16, the House would have to decide whether there were sufficient grounds to impeach Del Castillo.
“We (the justice committee) already voted on the sufficiency of form and substance. The next stage is we will vote on the sufficiency of grounds for impeachment,” Tupas said.
“Right now, the chair of the justice committee, including some of the vice chair persons will be in the Senate for (Corona’s) trial. Probably, we will have to designate an acting chair to pursue the impeachment process with respect to the Del Castillo case,” he added.
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