MANILA -- The two impeachment complaints against Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez based on the same grounds but different cases might be consolidated after being referred to the justice committee at the same time.
“Considering that two complaints were referred to the committee at the same time, consolidation is possible,” said Representative Niel Tupas Jr. who chairs the House Committee on Justice.
In Wednesday's hearing, Tupas sought the clarification of the time the complaints were referred. The impeachment cases were read and referred to the committee on August 10 at 4:47 p.m.
“The complaints were referred to the committee at the same time. When I asked in plenary what time exactly, I was informed same time, same minute,” he added while explaining that there is no prohibition in the impeachment rules that consolidation will not be allowed.
The justice committee earlier opted to adopt the impeachment rules of the previous Congress.
Former Akbayan representative Risa Hontiveros, together with Retired Brigadier General Danilo Lim and Evelyn and Felipe Pestaño -- parents of Phillip Andrew Pestano, a deceased Philippine Navy Ensign who allegedly had knowledge about the involvement of Navy officials in illegal activities -- filed the first impeachment raps against Gutierrez which was later on endorsed by Akbayan party-list lawmakers.
Another impeachment case was lodged by progressive groups including Bayan and was endorsed by Bayan Muna Representatives Neri Colmenares and Teddy Casino. (Kathrina Alvarez/Sunnex)