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Supreme Court Approves Impeachment of Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez

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By Marlon Ramos
Philippine Daily Inquirer

The impeachment of Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez is now a distinct possibility.

Voting 7-5, with two justices partially concurring with the majority and one abstaining, the Supreme Court Tuesday threw out Gutierrez’s petition seeking to declare unconstitutional the impeachment proceedings against her in the House of Representatives.

“The court en banc … has dismissed the petition of the Ombudsman, thereby effectively allowing the [House] justice committee to proceed with the impeachment proceedings,” Midas Marquez, the high court’s spokesperson and administrator, said at a news briefing.

Marquez also told the Philippine Daily Inquirer that the ruling was proof of the justices’ independence from any individual or political group.

“In many actions of the court, it has already shown that it is not, as what many say, an Arroyo court,” he said.

Written by Senior Associate Justice Conchita Carpio-Morales, the ruling was issued exactly five months after the tribunal barred the justice committee from hearing two impeachment complaints against Gutierrez.

Marquez said the ruling “effectively lifted” the status quo ante order issued by the high court on Sept. 14, 2010, to stop Iloilo Rep. Niel Tupas Jr. and the justice committee that he chairs from discussing the impeachment complaints.

But Marquez said that Gutierrez still had 15 days to file an appeal, and that it would be “more prudent” for the lawmakers to wait for the high court’s final decision before starting the impeachment proceedings.

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