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MANILA, Philippines – The impeachment complaint against Supreme Court Associate Justice Mariano Del Castillo is still alive.
“Yes it is still alive. We will decide on that in January,” House committee on justice chairman Iloilo Rep. Niel Tupas Jr. told Rappler.
Earlier, House minority leader Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman claimed that the 60-session-day period, the timeframe that the committee is required to dispose of the case, had lapsed.
But Tupas denied it. “Not yet. We are on the 51st session day,” he said. On December 7, the committee on justice voted 40-7 in favor of upholding the substance of the impeachment complaint against Del Castillo. He is accused of betrayal of public trust for allegedly plagiarizing at least three foreign experts in a landmark case involving Filipino comfort women.
The December 7 vote was the second of four voting stages in the committee. Next year, the committee will vote on “sufficiency of grounds” and “probable cause.” Only when it hurdles probable cause that the impeachment complaint will be sent to the plenary for all members to vote on whether or not to impeach the Justice.
The case against Del Castillo has been with the committee for about 7 months. Congress only holds three session days a week. There are regular breaks in session, too.
In comparison, the impeachment complaint against Chief Justice Renato Corona did not go through the committee. That’s because the complaint already had the necessary one-third vote when it was filed, allowing it to bypass the committee.
Tupas also earlier hinted on impeachment complaints against two more SC Justices. – Rappler.com