HOUSE of Representatives Deputy Speaker Rufus Rodriguez on Wednesday, December 9, 2020, said the determination of the form and substance of the impeachment complaint filed against Supreme Court Associate Justice Marvic Leonen may start in 2021 as the Congress will go on recess beginning December 18.

As of Wednesday, Rodriguez said the complaint has not reached the committee on justice yet.

“We cannot rush this because we are talking here of the member of the highest magistrate, the highest court of the land,” Rodriguez, who is also the vice chairperson of the justice panel, said in a statement.

Leonen is handling the electoral protest filed by former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. against Vice President Maria Leonor Robredo.

Once the committee receives the complaint, Rodriguez said there will be a determination by the committee on whether it complies with the requirements of form.

When sufficiency in form is achieved, Rodriguez said the committee will then determine the substantive requirement of the impeachment complaint.

“Whether the complaint has the basic or the grounds provided by the Constitution, which are culpable violation of the constitution, bribery, treason, graft and corruption and other high crimes, or betrayal of public trust,” Rodriguez said.

After the substantive requirement is determined, Rodriguez said the committee will proceed with the hearing.

“In the hearing, we will afford all the opportunity to Associate Justice Marvic Leonen to be able to answer the complaint and to be able to produce evidence on his behalf. We will make sure that this will be fair and objective,” he said.

A committee report and a resolution will be submitted to the plenary after the hearing. If there is a substantial reason to proceed with the impeachment, Rodriguez said the House will decide through a plenary debate whether to approve or not the resolution.

Once approved, the resolution will be converted into the Articles of Impeachment.

“The Articles of Impeachment upon a vote of one-third of all the members of Congress will be immediately transmitted to the Senate, who will conduct the trials. They are the hearers of the Articles of Impeachment,” Rodriguez said.

The complaint was filed by lawyer Lorenzo Gadon, who Is a known Marcos loyalist, and endorsed by Ilocos Norte Rep. Angelo Barba, a cousin of Marcos.

Senator Risa Hontiveros, in a statement, described the complaint as unnecessary and counterproductive.

“This is a distraction that will only drag lawmakers and the public into a pointless political fiasco at a time when government's efforts should be focused on helping Filipinos affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and the country's battered economy. (SunStar Philippines from PR)