SC can still decide on constitutionality of impeach complaint

Purple S. Romero
SC spokesperson says it has power to review Senate's decisions

MANILA, Philippines – The impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona will continue – until the SC rules on the validity of the complaint filed against him.

The SC did not issue a temporary restraining order on Tuesday, January 17, as sought by five petitioners, and instead asked the Senate and the House of Representatives to send their comment within 10 days.

But SC spokesperson Jose Midas Marquez said the High Court could rule on the merit of the petitions – one of which asked the SC to rule on the constitutionality of the impeachment complaint – after it has ascertained if it has jurisdiction over the issue or not. 

The Senate has already started the impeachment trial. Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile said that they have already assumed jurisdiction over the impeachment complaint.

“After the Court determines whether it (Supreme Court) has jurisdiction, the Court will move to determining if there are violations to the provisions of the Constitution,” Marquez said.

Aside from looking at the constitutionality of the complaint, the SC could also review the decision of the Senate dismissing the motion of the defense for a preliminary hearing. Corona’s legal team said the preliminary hearing was necessary since it was meant to verify whether the complaint is valid or not.

Marquez said that on this matter, the High Tribunal could assert its power to review the actions of co-equal branches of the government, including the Senate.

“[Court could do that] in effect, because of the Court’s expanded jurisdiction, that is very clear in Sec.1 Article 8 of the 1987 Constitution,” he said.  

He added, however, that “it is up” to the defense if it would file a petition before the SC. – Rappler.com