House exec: Tupas can't abandon JBC duties-A A +A
Tuesday, July 10, 2012
MEMBERS of the House prosecution team, which moved for the removal of Renato Corona as Chief Justice, said Tuesday that lead prosecutor Niel Tupas Jr. cannot abandon his responsibility as a member of the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC).
"There is no conflict between the role of a lead prosecutor and a member of the JBC. These roles are ex-officio or as a consequence of Tupas's being the chairman of the House committee on justice," House Deputy Majority Leader Romero Frederico Quimbo said.
"For him to inhibit is an abandonment of his responsibilities and makes him criminally liable for dereliction of duties," said Quimbo, one of the three spokespersons of the prosecution team during the Corona trial.
Quimbo made the statement after Corona's impeachment lawyer told media that he will seek the inhibition of Tupas from the proceedings of the JBC.
Rico Paolo Quicho, Corona's lawyer, said he will also file before the Supreme Court (SC) his formal opposition to the nomination of Justice Secretary Leila de Lima.
Quicho said it is "patently flawed and morally questionable that the process allows for those who are involved in effecting reforms to, themselves, benefit from these reforms."
Tupas and de Lima were key figures in the impeachment trial of Corona. Tupas acted as the lead public prosecutor, while de Lima has been called in the trial as witness for the prosecution.
Quicho said de Lima "wishes to lead the institution which she had wantonly disrespected in the past," citing the disbarment raps filed against her for her alleged defiance of the Supreme Court's injunction on the travel ban issued by her office against former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Quimbo said, however, that Quicho should also use the same reason in seeking for the inhibition of Senator Francis Escudero, one of the 20 senator-judges who voted for the conviction of Corona.
Tupas, de Lima and Escudero are ex-officio members of the JBC. De Lima have already inhibited from the proceedings following his nomination to the Chief Justice post.
"His claim that Tupas is morally questionable for having led the prosecution of Corona is entirely misplaced. It is important that whoever is placed as Chief Justice should approximate the standards set by the impeachment," Quimbo added.
Impeachment prosecutor and Oriental Mindoro Representative Reynaldo Umali also backed Tupas as a member of the JBC.
"Just because he is a part of the impeachment, he can't be a part of the process? He already made a bet when he led the impeachment process, and that is without repercussions. Had the Chief Justice won, we would have been disbarred. He took the risk. He fought for it. Not everybody can do that," Umali said. (Kathrina Alvarez/Sunnex)