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Francisco vs. House of Representatives GR, 160261 (Nov 10, 2003)
An impeachment complaint against Chief Justice Hilario Davide and seven Asociate Justices was filed on 2 June 2003 but was dismissed by The House Committee on Justice on 22 October 2003 for being insufficient in substance. On 23 October 2003, Representative Gilbert Teodoro and Felix Fuentabella filed a new impeachment complaint against the Chief Justice. Thus arose the instant petitions against the House of Representatives et al, most of which contend that the filing of the second impeachment complaint is unconstitutional as it violates the provision of Section 5, Article XI of the Constitution, “no impeachment proceedings shall be initiated against the same official more than once within the period of one year.” Senator Aquilino Pimintel Jr, filed a Motion to Intervene, stating that the consolidated petitions be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction of the Court and that the sole power, authority and jurisdiction of the Senate as the impeachment court be recognized and upheld pursuant to the provision of Article XI of the Constitution.
Whether or not the certiorari jurisdiction of the court may be invoked to determine the validity of the second impeachment complaint pursuant to Article XI of the Constitution.
DECISION: The second impeachment complaint against Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide, Jr. which was filed by Representatives Gilberto C. Teodoro, Jr. and Felix William B. Fuentebella with the Office of the Secretary General of the House of Representatives on October 23, 2003 is barred under paragraph 5, section 3 of Article XI of the Constitution
RATIO DECIDENDI: Having concluded that the initiation takes place by the act of filing of the impeachment complaint and referral to the House Committee on Justice, the initial action taken thereon, the meaning of Section 3 (5) of Article XI becomes clear. Once an impeachment complaint has been initiated in the foregoing manner, another may not be filed against the same official within a one year period following Article XI, Section 3(5) of the Constitution. In fine, considering that the first impeachment complaint, was filed by former President Estrada against Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide, Jr., along with seven associate justices of this Court, on June 2, 2003 and referred to the House Committee on Justice on August 5, 2003, the second impeachment complaint filed by Representatives Gilberto C. Teodoro, Jr. and Felix William Fuentebella against the Chief Justice on October 23, 2003 violates the constitutional prohibition against the initiation of impeachment proceedings against the same impeachable officer within a one-year period.
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