The House of Representatives on Tuesday night formally referred the impeachment complaint filed against Supreme Court (SC) Justice Marvic Leonen to the House Committee on Justice.
Majority Leader Martin Romualdez of the First District of Leyte said the ball is now in the hands of the House Committee on Justice, chaired by Leyte Rep. Vicente “Ching” Veloso III, as the referral signals the start of the impeachment process.
Romualdez noted that before the referral of the impeachment complaint, the House Committee on Rules adopted the motion of Iloilo City Rep. Julienne Baronda to include the matter in the Calendar of Business earlier in the day.
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 the 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 violates the constitutional mandate requiring the speedy disposition of cases.
Leonen has insisted that the issues raised in the impeachment complaint are false.
Romualdez said the complaint was properly endorsed by Ilocos Norte Rep. Angelo Barba in accordance with the constitutional provision mandating the House to act on a verified complaint for impeachment filed by any member of the House of Representatives or by any citizen upon a resolution of endorsement by any House member.
He 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.”