MANILA -- House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte asked the Supreme Court to lift its status quo ante order on the impeachment proceeding against Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez, citing the legislative's "exclusive power" in hearing the case.

In his Motion for Leave to Intervene and Comment in Intervention Ex Abundanti Cautela, Belmonte said the SC order "emasculates the power of the House of Representatives to exact any form of accountability" from the Ombudsman and endows her with "the status of an untouchable".

Last week, the House Justice Committee decided to push through with the proceedings against Gutierrez amid the directive of the SC.

The Speaker defended the committee on allegations that it violated the provision, which bar the initiation of impeachment proceedings against the same official more than once in one year. (Kathrina Alvarez/Sunnex)