OPPOSITION lawmakers belonging to the Magnificent 7 bloc will challenge the decision of the House justice panel to formally dismiss the impeachment complaints filed against Chief Justice Teresita Leonardo-De Castro and six other associate justices.
“We will challenge the validity of the decision because it did not comply with the rules,” Albay Representative Edcel Lagman said in a press conference on Tuesday, September 25.
The House justice panel voted 22-0 on Tuesday, September 25, to approve its committee report that explains why the impeachment complaints filed by Lagman, Magdalo Representative Gary Alejano and Ifugao Representative Teddy Baguilat were dismissed.
The complaints were filed against Leonardo-De Castro, Associate Justices Diosdado Peralta, Lucas Bersamin, Francis Jardaleza, Noel Tijam, Andres Reyes Jr. and Alexander Gesmundo.
Lagman said a resolution that seeks to dismiss an impeachment complaint should be voted upon by the majority of the members of the House committee on justice or by at least 35 lawmakers.
Of the 22 who voted to approve the committee report, four were regular members of the committee, while the rest are ex-offficio members, said Lagman.
He said 22 is not an absolute majority as the members of the justice committee is 68 in total. The absolute majority is 50 percent of the total plus 1, he said.
Lagman also noted that "pag ang ex-officio members ay mas marami kaysa sa regular members, tiyak merong instruction ang leadership kung ano ang kailangang gawin sa panukala...(If there are more ex-officio members than the regular members, the leadership surely has instructions on how to go about the proposals)."
Lagman, Alejano and Baguilat, in their complaints, said the magistrates have committed an impeachable offense of culpable violation of the Constitution and betrayal of public trust for ousting former Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno through a quo warranto and for failing to inhibit in deciding the case against the latter amid their biases. (SunStar Philippines)