Impeachment vs SC justice ‘still on’-A A +A
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
HOUSE Committee on Justice chairman Niel Tupas Jr. expressed disappointment over the leadership’s lack of interest to pursue the impeachment complaint against Associate Justice Mariano del Castillo.
In an ambush interview with reporters before Congress adjourned sine die, Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. said the House of Representatives will not elevate the complaint to the Senate impeachment court.
The House leadership’s decision came after the Senate court rendered a guilty verdict on then Chief Justice Renato Corona. Corona was removed from office for his untruthful declaration of his assets and net worth.
Del Castillo, meanwhile, is sought to be impeached for betrayal of public trust over his alleged plagiarized ruling on World War II comfort women.
Several paragraphs of the SC justice's ruling were allegedly borrowed without proper attribution from "A Fiduciary Theory of Jus Cogens" by Evan Criddle and Evan Fox-Decent, "Breaking the Silence: On Rape as an International Crime" by Mark Ellis, and "Enforcing Erga Omnes Obligations in International Law" by Christian Tams.
“As far as the committee on justice is concerned, the del Castillo impeachment is on because we found probable cause. I haven’t discussed it with the House leadership and I intend to discuss it right after the Sona (State of the Nation Address). I will discuss it with him (Belmonte), but as far as we are concerned the impeachment is still on,” Tupas said in a press conference Wednesday.
In a justice committee hearing on February 21, the panel voted 38-10 finding probable cause to impeach the Associate Justice.
Under the rules, the plenary is given 60 session days to either affirm or reject the justice committee report. The report will need a one-third vote -- at least 95 -- from members of the House of Representatives before it is elevated to the Senate impeachment court.
“It is not just for us to say that we will any more impeach, it is for the plenary to decide and I will discuss this with the House leadership,” Tupas said.
Tupas, also the lead prosecutor in the impeachment trial of Corona, however, added that he himself is not in favor of pushing through with another impeachment proceeding.
“Personally, I don’t want another impeachment trial. Hopefully, that would be the last (Corona trial). But still, we have a constitutional duty and we have to dispose of the del Castillo impeachment complaint immediately after the Sona,” he said.
Congress is currently on a sine die adjournment. The third regular session will open on July 23 and will immediately be followed by President Benigno Aquino III’s delivery of his third Sona. (Kathrina Alvarez/Sunnex)