Del Castillo's impeachment case 'likely' to be dismissed-A A +A
Friday, February 3, 2012
THE impeachment case against Supreme Court (SC) Associate Justice Mariano del Castillo may not prosper, a lawmaker-complainant said Friday.
Akbayan party-list Representative Walden Bello, one of the complainants, said pursuing the case against another member of the Judiciary "would give the wrong impression that the House is waging war against the Supreme Court."
"This will also overload the political system at a time that the Corona impeachment is already the focus of so much time and resources," Bello added, referring to the current proceedings at the Senate. The Senate is hearing the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona.
Del Castillo was accused of betrayal of public trust by more than 10 House members after the SC justice plagiarized a case ruling on World War II comfort women.
The House committee on justice has finally set a hearing on Tuesday to allow members to vote on the determination of the sufficiency or insufficiency of the ground for impeachment and to determine probable cause.
Earlier, justice committee chairman and Iloilo Representative Niel Tupas Jr. said the House panel has three options on the impeachment case against Del Castillo: refer it to the plenary for voting, vote to dismiss the case, or have the 60-day period lapsed and make a report to the plenary. The committee has only four session days to decide on the complaint.
Tupas earlier hinted at the complaint's dismissal during the impeachment trial of Corona after Senator Joker Arroyo asked him if the prosecution panel intends to “burden” the Senate with two impeachment complaints.
“Are we to understand that if you file or the House transmits the articles of impeachment against the Justice (Del Castillo), you also expect the Senate to attend to that simultaneously with the one of Chief Justice Corona?" Arroyo said.
In reply, Tupas said the prosecution panel does not "intend to burden the Senate because it's still with the House, in fact it is still with the committee on justice."
Bello meanwhile noted that the dismissal of the complaint against Del Castillo does not mean that he is not guilty of plagiarism.
"I feel his plagiarism is a black mark on Philippine jurisprudence. It also does not mean that an impeachment case may not be lodged against him in the future," he said.
Del Castillo is one of the SC justices who are being eyed by the prosecution panel to testify in the impeachment trial of Corona. (Kathrina Alvarez/Sunnex)