House to insist on right to hear impeach cases | Inquirer News

House to insist on right to hear impeach cases

By: - Reporter / @NCorralesINQ
/ 05:38 AM December 11, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The House of Representatives will insist on its exclusive jurisdiction over the impeachment complaint that was filed against Supreme Court Associate Justice Marvic Leonen.

Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, vice-chair of the committee on justice, made the assertion after Edwin Cordevilla, secretary-general of the Filipino League of Advocates for Good Government, filed an impeachment complaint against Leonen with the assistance of lawyer Larry Gadon.

“Impeachable officials, like Supreme Court associate justices, can only be removed by impeachment,” Rodriguez said in a virtual press briefing.


“The Constitution is supreme over the rules of court, definitely. I believe that it was a mistake for the Supreme Court to proceed with the quo warranto especially because at that time Congress had already been hearing the impeachment,” he said.


Rodriguez was referring to the removal of then Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno through a quo warranto proceeding in the Supreme Court in 2018.

Quo warranto is a special legal action requiring a person to show by what warrant he occupies a public office or franchise and Sereno was removed because she was found to have failed to file her statements of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALNs) when she was a law professor at University of the Philippines (UP).

But Rodriguez said, “It was a violation of the Constitution. It’s very clear, impeachable officials can only be removed by impeachment and there’s no statement there that the quo warranto can be used against an impeachable officer. So that should not be.”

If another quo warranto proceeding is allowed against Leonen, Rodriguez said Congress would “abdicate from its duties as enshrined in the Constitution.”

“So let Congress do its part to be able to comply with the Constitution. Otherwise, the Constitution will be dead letter law if that will not be observed,” he said.

In the impeachment complaint against Leonen, Cordevilla said the associate justice was “unfit to be a member of the judiciary” because the magistrate, like Sereno, failed to file his SALNs when he was a professor at the UP College of Law. Leonen was also accused of being “negligent and incompetent” in resolving 37 cases in the Supreme Court in violation of the constitutional mandate that cases should be decided within 24 months from the time it is submitted for resolution.


But the complaint cited only newspaper reports in making the accusations against Leonen.

“Newspaper reports will not hold in any proceedings, in any court and administrative proceedings like ours. There has to be a clear, direct testimony and there should be testimonial evidence and documentary evidence,” Rodriguez said.

“Administrative proceedings like these require substantial evidence. There has to be substantial evidence that is brought about by the complaint and if there is none, then it will be dismissed,” he added.

But Rodriguez said the House could not even start to evaluate the complaint because the chamber was set to go on Christmas recess on Dec. 18.

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

“We come back on Jan. 18 so it would be impossible to already conduct a hearing, even the determination of form and substance at this time,” he said.

TAGS: Impeachment, Marvic Leonen, Politics, Supreme Court

© Copyright 1997-2024 | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.