A FORMER Quezon City lawmaker has expressed disappointment over the House Justice Committee’s dismissal of the impeachment complaint against Supreme Court Associate Justice Marvic Leonen due to technicality.
Atty. Matias “Mat” Defensor Jr. said the committee’s decision was “wrong” simply because Edwin Cordevilla’s documents were not “certified thru copy” by the Supreme Court.
Defensor pointed out that certified thru copies of documents are not needed in order to prove the veracity and accuracy of Cordevilla’s impeachment complaint against Leonen.
Defensor, who is the lead counsel of Cordevilla, general of the Filipino League of Advocates of Good Governance – MAHARLIKA (FLAGG – MAHARLIKA), said the high bench would never issue documents and subsequently mark them certified thru copy documents where the purpose is to use them as pieces of evidence against a magistrate of the high court.
A member of the legal counsel, Lawyer Lorenzo “Larry” Gadon explained that “the particular records involved in the [impeachment] charges are all kept at the Supreme Court”.
In the first hearing on the impeachment compliant, members of the Justice Committee put an end to the charges against Leonen due to the absence of “form” on Cordevilla’s accusations since they have no real documents.
The Justice committee’s chair is Leyte Representative Vicente Veloso Jr.
Based on the House Rules of Impeachment, the Justice Committee is tasked to find out first the form of the impeachment complaint.
Then, the committee will submit its decision to the House secretary – general for the latter to work on its official and formal report.
The Justice Committee will look into the “substance” afterwards as directed by the Impeachment Rules.
Whatever its decision, it will also bring it to the House secretary – general, which the latter will also make an official and formal report.
Defensor pointed out that the lawmakers should have allowed and gave Cordevilla an opportunity to explain the accusations he hurled against Leonen.
If the solons need real document, they should a issue subpoena to the Supreme Court, or the College of Law of the University of the Philippines (U.P.), for them to find out if the crime supposedly committed by Leonen was true, or a mere invention of Cordevilla’s imaginative mind against Leonen, continued former solon, who is also a practicing lawyer.
Defensor finished his law program at U.P.
Defensor is considered a “giant” in the legal profession.
Defensor explained that there is no need for the congressmen to be extremely strict in the character of the documents because the crimes that were hurled against Leonen have already been made public long before they were brought to the halls of Congress by Cordevilla.
He noted the charges against Leonen have already been released to the media, which all came from sources who were reportedly privy to the accusations.
To prove the correctness of his legal view, Defensor averred that even in the libel case, court judges do not ask for certified thru copy documents to continue the charges against journalists.
That is allowed by “rules of court”.
Defensor is extremely convinced that there was “sufficient” in “form” and “substance” in the impeachment complaint against Leonen.
Defensor said that the crime on the Statement of Assets and Liabilities Networth (SALN) alone was a big issue, of which there are clear pieces of evidence to pin down Leonen.