House minority to ensure proper impeachment process vs. Leonen

House minority to ensure proper impeachment process vs. Leonen

MANILA – The minority bloc in the House of Representatives will ensure that “proper procedure” will be followed in tackling and deciding on the impeachment complaint filed against Supreme Court (SC) Associate Justice Marvic Leonen.

House Minority Leader Joseph Stephen Paduano gave the assurance on Wednesday following the referral of the complaint against Leonen to the House Committee on Justice.

Ipasisiguro namin sa minorya na sinusunod ang tamang proseso sa pagtukoy at pagpataw ng desisyon sa kasong ito (We, in the minority, will make sure that the right process will be followed in pursuing and deciding on this case),” Paduano said in a press conference.

When asked if the minority has reached a consensus on a vote, Paduano said each member of the minority with voting rights in the committee is free to deliver their conscience vote on the impeachment complaint.

The House Committee on Justice is tasked with initial deliberations to determine sufficiency in form and substance of the complaint.

Leonen, an appointee of former President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, is facing an impeachment complaint for alleged culpable violation of the Constitution and betrayal of public trust.

Edwin Cordevilla, secretary general of the Filipino League of Advocates For Good Government (FLAGG), submitted the impeachment complaint before the Office of the House Secretary General in December 2020.

Ilocos Norte Rep. Angelo Marcos Barba, a cousin of former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., endorsed the complaint, while lawyer Larry Gadon served as the legal counsel.

In the impeachment complaint, Cordevilla accused Leonen of culpable violation of the Constitution for allegedly failing to dispose of at least 37 cases within 24 months.

Cordevilla noted that this is in violation of the constitutional mandate requiring the speedy disposition of cases.

“Respondent’s track record of gross inefficiency as shown by the snail pace in which he resolves his cases casts doubts on his competency. No other sitting Justice has ever displayed the same inefficiency and incompetence,” the complaint read.

Cordevilla also alleged that Leonen “arbitrarily, willfully, intentionally, [and] deliberately” delayed the resolution of cases pending before him as chairperson of the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET), noting that there are more than 30 pending electoral protests” pending before the HRET.

“By failing to act on the cases pending before him both in the Supreme Court and the HRET, respondent has clearly betrayed public trust. His incompetence and inefficiency, has caused the erosion of the public’s faith in our judicial system,” it added.

Cordevilla claimed that Leonen betrayed public trust after he failed to file his Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN) for a total of 15 years during his tenure at the University of the Philippines.

“Since respondent failed to file his SALN for 15 years, it would be difficult for the investigating authorities to pin him down in the event that a corruption case is filed against him,” the complaint read.

Majority Leader Martin Romualdez said the justice panel, after hearing and by a majority vote of all its members, shall submit its report to the House within 60 session days from such referral, together with the corresponding resolution.

“The Constitution and the House Rules of Procedure in Impeachment Proceedings are clear on the timetable for acting on such complaint,” he said. “We believe that the Chairman and Members of the House of Committee on Justice will act judiciously on the impeachment complaint based on constitutional grounds and in accordance with established rules and practices.” (PNA)

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