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Reyes case pits house vs SC.

Manila, Philippines - Will there be a Legislative-Judiciary clash?

The number of lawmakers who rallied behind a resolution insisting the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET), and not the Supreme Court (SC), has the final say on the disqualification of Marinduque Rep. Regina Reyes has increased to 176.

Oriental Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo Umali said of the 289-man Lower Chamber, a total of 176 House members threw support to his House Resolution (HR) No. 597 which recognizes HRET's sole jurisdiction over electoral cases filed against lawmakers.

"The resolution has 176 signatures and counting. It only takes one signature to initiate an impeachment complaint," he said in an interview.

The snowballing number of lawmakers supporting HR 597 showed the House's rejection of the SC ruling upholding with finality the disqualification of Reyes, he explained.

Umali remains decisive to file an impeachment complaint against some SC justices for alleged despotism amid Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr.'s continued opposition against his move.

To move forward the impeachment complaint and transmit it to the Senate Impeachment Court for trial, it has to muster the support of at least one-third or 99 of the 289 House members.

When asked if the impeachment of some SC justices would prosper without the House leadership's support, he said, "I will just cross the bridge when I get there."

Under HR 597, Umali explained that Section 17, Article VI of the 1987 Constitution provides that "the Senate and the House of Representatives shall each have an Electoral Tribunal which shall be the sole judge of all contests relating to the election, returns and qualifications of their respective members."

The House of Representatives is still weighing its decision on whether or not it would recognize former Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco and ask Reyes to vacate her post after the SC affirmed with finality the Commission on Election's disqualification of the woman lawmaker.


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Title Annotation:National
Publication:Manila Bulletin
Geographic Code:9PHIL
Date:Feb 8, 2014
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