Solons question lack of authentic records in Leonen impeachment case
MANILA, Philippines — Lawmakers on Thursday questioned the lack of certified true copies of the attachments included the impeachment complaint against Supreme Court Associate Justice Marvic Leonen.
During the hearing of the House committee on justice on the impeachment complaint against Leonen, Quezon City Rep. Kit Belmonte pointed out that the documents attached in his copy of the impeachment complaint were not certified true copies.
In response, the committee secretary said the copies sent to lawmakers were the same as the full impeachment complaint submitted to them.
Later on in the hearing, Deputy Speaker Rufus Rodriguez said allegations in the impeachment complaint should be based on the personal knowledge of the complainant or based on authentic records.
However, the lack of certified true copies of attachments included in the complaint makes it “undeniably, purely hearsay,” as he pointed out several allegations in the complaint which only cited news reports.
“On this particular point, it is clear that it is not based on authentic record as required by our rules… All the annexes are all xerox copies and mainly coming from newspaper reports,” Rodriguez said.
“Therefore, this verified complaint, on the second requirement of authentic record, will not comply,” he added.
Rodriguez likewise questioned if the complaint was based on personal knowledge.
“A perusal of the complaint itself and the annexes would show that not one matter, not one annex is based on his personal knowledge,” Rodriguez said.
“It says my own personal knowledge and then what is being attached or being cited are newspaper and online reports of columnists or reports who wrote about these issues and therefore the first requirement that it is true and correct based on personal knowledge were not obtained in this complaint,” he added.
Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman also pointed out the lack of authentic records in support of the complaint.
“Complainant failed to attach to his complaint the authentic records or official certifications on Justice Leonen’s purported failures to seasonably decide cases and file his SALNs for a number of years prior to his appointment as Associate Justice,” Lagman said.
Edwin Cordevilla, secretary-general of the Filipino League of Advocates for Good Government, filed the impeachment complaint against Leonen in December 2020.
Cordevilla claimed that the magistrate “clearly lacks integrity because he failed to file his statement of assets and liabilities and net worth” for 15 years during his tenure at the University of the Philippines.
The impeachment complaint was endorsed by Ilocos Norte Rep. Angelo Marcos Barba, a cousin of former Sen. Bongbong Marcos.
Leonen, who wrote the decision junking the electoral protest of Marcos against Vice President Leni Robredo, has said that Congress should not spend time on “false issues raised by some for clearly personal or vindictive reasons.”
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