Lawmakers in the House of Representatives on Monday criticized Speaker Lord Allan Jay Velasco over his supposed inaction on the impeachment charges filed against Associate Justice Marvic Leonen.
Anakalusugan Rep. Michael ‘Mike” Defensor stressed that the Lower House Rules on Impeachment are very clear that the Speaker should have endorsed the impeachment complaint against Leonen ten days after it was accepted and endorsed by one or two members of the lower chamber.
The complaint against Leonen was filed at the House on December 7, 2020 by one Edwin Cordevilla.
Cordevilla, secretary-general of the Filipino League of Advocates for Good Governance – Maharlika (FLAGG – Maharlika), asserted in his complaints that Leonen deliberately violated several provisions of the 1987 Constitution and betrayed public trust.
Cordevilla’s impeachment charges were accepted and filed by Ilocos Norte Rep. Angelo Barba.
Barba said he strongly believed Cordevilla, thus he filed the impeachment complaints against Leonen.
“Gusto ko lang malaman Mr. Speaker, not only for myself but for Honorable Barba, what is the status of the Impeachment case filed before the House of Representatives,” Defensor was heard as asking the lower chamber’s leader.
Defensor learned of the inaction of Velasco after the parliamentary inquiry he made Monday about the status of the case.
He and other members of the House found out that “officially” Velasco did not endorse the complaints against Leonen to the House Committee on Justice.
This led Defensor to remind Velasco of his legal duty as leader of the House to act on the issue.
Cavite Rep. Jesus Crispin “Boying” Remulla strongly agreed with Defensor’s view.
Remulla, who is also a senior deputy speaker of the House, noted the specific period on the endorsement of the impeachment complaint as pointed out in the Rules of Impeachment.
Defensor averred that 10 days have already lapsed if the counting starts on December 7, 2020.
“I thank the explanation of the majority leader on that [matter]. But, I will not debate on it. This impeachment case was filed by Honorable Barba since December . Lumagpas na po tayo sa 10 session days. But I will debate on that. We can look on our record,” Defensor explained.
Among the bases of Cordevilla’s complaint against Leonen were the snail-paced release of his ponente on 82 cases filed at the Supreme Court, failure to act as chairman of the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET) on the electoral protests of a number of candidates in the 2019 elections, and his failure to submit his Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Networth (SALN) for 15 years while a law professor and at one time dean at the University of the Philippines College of Law.
Aside from culpable violation of the Philippine Constitution, Leonen was also slapped with violations of Republic Act 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.