ATTY. Larry Gadon on Thursday vowed to push for another impeachment complaint next year against Supreme Court (SC) Associate Justice Mario Victor F. Leonen.
“We can try another impeachment [complaint] next year after a one year ban,” Gadon said in a statement sent to reporters.
On Wednesday, the House of Representatives adopted the House committee on justice report dismissing the impeachment complaint against Leonen after finding that allegations were based on hearsay.
Voting 165 against one with one abstention, the House of Representatives finally affirmed the decision of the justice panel on House Resolution (HR) No. 2068 under Committee Report No. 1102 junking the Leonen impeachment.
Last May 27, the House committee on justice with an overwhelming 44 votes dismissed the impeachment complaint against Leonen. But Gadon recalled that the House committee on justice issued subpoenas to the Supreme Court (SC) even if he submitted not original documents when he pushed the impeachment complaint against then Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.
“In the Sereno impeachment, I also submitted xerox copies of evidences, but the committee issued subpoenas to the Supreme Court to produce the original documents and even invited the SC Justices to testify. The committee also summoned the BIR (Bureau of Internal Revenue) officials to produce original documents as well as UP (University of the Philippines) administration to bring the original documents,” Gadon said.
Ilocos Norte Rep. Angelo Barba endorsed the impeachment complaint filed by Edwin Cordevilla, Secretary General of the Filipino League of Advocates for Good Government and was assisted by Gadon, before House Secretary General Mark Llandro Mendoza. Last March 25, Velasco transmitted the impeachment complaint against Leonen filed by Mr. Edwin M. Cordevilla.
According to the complaint, Leonen allegedly “clearly lacks integrity because he failed to file for 15 years his Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN)” as required by law and accused the SC Associate Justice of being “negligent and incompetent” for allegedly failing to dispose 37 cases in the Supreme Court (SC). Gadon said “an ordinary citizen like Ed Cordevillas has no power to secure original copies nor access to original documents from the SC, BIR and UP for that matter.”
“I do not understand why the committee on justice departed from the established Sereno processes where xerox copies attached in the complaint were relied on and on that basis subsequently issued subpoenas to SC, BIR and UP,” Gadon said.
“The House committee has all the inherent and plenary powers to issue subpoena duces tecum for the purpose of ascertaining the truth. Impeachment is unlike ordinary cases in regular courts where the complainant has the burden to produce original documents, unless they are in the possession of the adverse party as an exception,” Gadon explained.
“An impeachment case is a sui generis and does not adhere strictly to the rules of court as the primary objective is to know the truth and for this principle the House can use its plenary and inherent powers to issue subpoenas like what it did to Sereno case,” Gadon pointed out.