House Postpones Voting on Impeach Bid vs SC Justice

Carmela Fonbuena

MANILA, Philippines – In yet another delay, the House of Representatives committee on justice postponed its scheduled hearing today, Nov. 29, when it’s supposed to vote on the impeachment complaint against sitting Supreme Court Justice Mariano del Castillo.

“[It’s the] decision of the senior members of the committee [to postpone the hearing]. But next week, Wednesday (December 7), we will go into voting,” was the evasive explanation of committee chairman Iloilo City Rep. Niel Tupas when asked to explain the delay.

It’s a race against time for the proponents of the impeachment complaint. Based on Tupas’s count, there are 11 session days left to dispose of the case. Under the rules, the committee has to dispose of impeachment complaints within 60 session days since its initiation.

Del Castillo is accused of betrayal of public trust for allegedly plagiarizing the works of three foreign experts in his legal opinion. This pertains to Del Castillo’s decision that dismissed the petition of 70 Filipino comfort women to compel the Philippine government to get a public apology from Tokyo and to provide reparation to victims of sexual abuse  during World War II.

Newsbreak broke the story in July 2010. (See stories here: www.newsbreak.ph/2010/10/22/the-supreme-court-plagiarism-scandal/)

In a widely criticized move, the Supreme Court cleared Justice Del Castillo of any malicious intent.

It has been 6 months since the House committee declared the complaint sufficient in form last May.

Repeated postponements have led to speculations that there are not enough votes to bring the impeachment complaint to the plenary. Committee leaders were sought for comment, but they have not replied as of this writing.

The first vote in May was very close, 11-10, against Justice Del Castillo.Move.PH