Comfort women balk at impeaching Justice Del Castillo
MANILA, Philippines—The House committee on justice was forced to cut short its hearing on the impeachment complaint against Associate Justice Mariano del Castillo on Tuesday not only for lack of a quorum but because the complainants said they did not really want him ousted.
Zambales Representative Milagros Magsaysay said the justice committee should drop the impeachment complaint against Del Castillo for plagiarism after one of the complainants belonging to the group of comfort women Malayang Lolas pulled a surprise on the lawmakers.
“We did not say we wanted him (Del Castillo) removed from his post but we only wanted our case reconsidered,” said Isablita Vinuya.
Committee members were to vote at Tuesday’s hearing whether there was probable cause to impeach Del Castillo. Last week, they had voted to uphold the complaint after declaring it sufficient in form.
Vinuya’s group had filed the impeachment complaint after Del Castillo penned a Supreme Court decision rejecting their appeal for compensation from the Japanese government for abuses committed against them by Japanese soldiers during World War II.
Del Castillo was found to have lifted portions of the decision from the opinions of foreign experts for which no proper attribution was made.
Magsaysay said that Vinuya and her group might not have understood the purpose of the impeachment complaint they had signed together with several lawmakers.
She said the committee should have focussed on Del Castillo’s act of plagiarism and not on the Supreme Court decision.
Magsaysay said the House majority had shown it was really behind the impeachment complaint against Del Castillo and not the comfort women, as shown by their questionable move to extend the 60-day limit for processing the impeachment complaint that was filed a year ago.
“It is obvious the comfort women are being used for their selfish political motives,” said Magsaysay.
Iloilo Rep. Niel Tupas Jr., the committee chairman, was unfazed by Vinuya’s testimony as he scheduled another hearing on the impeachment complaint next week.
Tupas pointed out that the comfort women were not the only complainants against Del Castillo but several House members as well.
However, after the committee hearing, Vinuya issued another statement saying they wanted Del Castillo impeached after all.