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Lagman challenges dismissal of impeachment complaint vs SC justices

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Edcel C. Lagman
Albay Representative Edcel C. Lagman -- PHILSTAR

By Charmaine A. Tadalan, Reporter

REPRESENTATIVE Edcel C. Lagman of the first district of Albay challenged the validity of the House Justice Committee’s decision to dismiss the consolidated impeachment complaints against Chief Justice Teresita Leonardo-de Castro and six other Supreme Court Associate Justices for lack of votes.

With 22 affirmative votes and zero negative, the Committee on Tuesday formally adopted the committee report, carrying the decision to dismiss the complaints filed by some members of the opposition bloc Magnificent 7.

“The aforesaid recorded 22 votes did not constitute an absolute majority of 35 votes out of a total of 68 members, 34 regular members and 34 ex-officio members, as required under Section 8 of Rule III of the House Rules of Procedure in Impeachment Proceedings,” Mr. Lagman told Panel Chair Salvador C. Leachon of the first district of Oriental Mindoro in a letter, dated Sept. 26.

In response, Mr. Leachon said the absolute majority of the Committee is based on the total number of regular members.

“Our total membership is 33 and not 68 as he claimed,” he told reporters in a phone message.

“So absolute majority is 17 and since the votes approving the committee report was 22, the proceedings adopting the report was perfectly legal and binding,” he also said.

The panel chair noted the misunderstanding had already been cleared with the complainant. “Cong Lagman has been alerted. He’s just misinformed,” Mr. Leachon said.

The Committee on Sept. 11 dismissed the complaints after finding it “insufficient in substance.”

The impeachment complaints stem from the seven SC justices’ decision to grant the quo warranto petition that ousted Ma. Lourdes P.A. Sereno as Chief Justice.