NON-MEMBERS of the House committee on justice were allowed to attend or witness the impeachment proceedings but they could not participate in the discussion, the committee ruled yesterday in response to the question of opposition Rep. Edcel Lagman, who insisted that it is the right of every member of the House to participate in any legislative work in the Congress.
Voting 30-3, the committee chaired by Oriental Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo Umali rejected the appeal of Lagman to at least allow the non-members to participate in the impeachment hearing, if they cannot vote.
According to Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas, the impeachment proceeding is not an ordinary legislative work because it is akin to court proceedings and therefore only members are strictly allowed to join the discussion.
“You can attend, you can listen to all the discussions here so that you will be already enlightened when you vote in plenary. But for you to invoke that you can participate and debate and even interject your options during a constitutional process, that will be a dangerous procedure,” Fariñas told Lagman.