• Let the people impeach him

    26

    THE instantaneous killing of the three impeachment complaints against President B. S. Aquino 3rd by the House committee on justice for being “insufficient in substance” was not at all unexpected. But it does not alter the need to remove the miscreant, nor should it end any determined legal effort to do so.

    In the eyes of many, Aquino has become totally impeachable on virtually all the grounds enumerated in the Constitution, namely, “culpable violation of the Constitution, treason, bribery, graft and corruption, other high crimes, or betrayal of public trust.” And if the process outlined in the law will not work, they must find another way of achieving the same results.

    But are any prepared to soldier on?

    Under the Constitution, the House of Representatives shall have the exclusive power to initiate all cases of impeachment. The Senate shall have the sole power to try and decide such cases. A vote of at least one-third of all the Members of the House shall be necessary to either affirm a favorable committee resolution on the Articles of Impeachment, or override a contrary resolution.

    Now, the Committee voted, 54-4, to junk the three complaints for being insufficient in substance after finding them sufficient in form.  If that is an indication of how the House will vote in plenary on the Committee report, the chance of an override seems quite remote.

    The complaints would then be dismissed with finality, and no new impeachment complaint could be filed against Aquino within a period of one year.

    After the one-year period is over, assuming he is still in office by then, he could have a nuisance complaint filed against himself, so that after it is thrown out, he could have another year during which no serious impeachment complaint could be filed against him. This was what his predecessor Gloria Macapagal Arroyo did during her watch to beat the continuing threat of impeachment.

    All this was made possible by the 2003 Supreme Court interpretation, in Francisco v. House of Representatives, of the constitutional provision which says “no impeachment proceedings shall be initiated against the same official more than once within a period of one year.”

    We believe the SC interpretation, penned by then Associate Justice and now Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales, is a complete misreading of the Constitution. In this ruling, the subject of an impeachment complaint can no longer be made to answer a new complaint over a one-year period, even if the earlier complaint had failed to prosper into a case in the hands of the House. What the Constitution obviously means is that within a period of one year, the House shall not entertain any impeachment complaint against any official whom it had previously impeached and whom the Senate had acquitted.

    But that ruling was meant to, and did in fact, save then Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr. from certain impeachment, simply by showing that he had been subjected to an earlier complaint which had failed to prosper, therefore he could no longer be made to answer a new complaint over a one-year period.

    It later saved Mrs. Arroyo from possible impeachment simply by her causing a defective complaint to be filed against herself, which gave her a one-year immunity from impeachment after the mock complaint had been thrown out.

    It has now become Aquino’s uncomfortable shield.

    As a result of the junking of the complaints, the committee, chaired by Iloilo’s Rep. Niel Tupas, who headed the bumbling prosecution panel during the 2012 Senate impeachment trial of Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona, can look forward to a period of spirited speculation on how much Malacañang had paid its members to throw out the three complaints. Because Malacañang had paid off the members of Congress to impeach and remove Corona in 2011-2012, critics find it easy to assume they were similarly paid off to junk the three complaints.

    I would like to believe there was no need for it. Having been bought before, when 188 congressmen, many of whom are still in the House, signed the Articles of Impeachment against Corona, even without reading the document, I don’t believe it was necessary to buy Tupas and company all over again. They are “honorable” men, and honor would demand that once bought, they remained bought.

    But the complainants are not entirely blameless. By limiting their ground for impeaching PNoy to the unconstitutionality of the Disbursement Acceleration Program, and to the alleged lopsidedness of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement with the United States, they may have ensured their own defeat.

    For while the Supreme Court had earlier ruled by a 13-0 vote that the DAP was unconstitutional, that ruling is still under appeal and has not been made final and executory. No matter how remote the possibility that the Court would reverse, that was the legal situation which the Tupas committee could exploit, and in fact decided to exploit.

    The criminal use of the DAP and the Priority Development Assistance Fund, which the Court had earlier declared unconstitutional, to bribe members of the House and the Senate to impeach and remove Corona might have made a far more compelling ground. Not only did this constitute bribery and corruption of public officers, it was also a high crime and a betrayal of public trust.

    Of course, the Committee would have thrown it out anyway, especially since it would accuse not only Aquino but also the Committee members who had been bribed to impeach Corona. But the gravity of the allegation might have merited some extended committee investigation and debate at the very least.

    As for the alleged unconstitutionality of the EDCA, this appears to be an issue that has to be decided first by the Supreme Court, not by Congress, least of all by the House justice committee.

    Sec. 25, Article XVIII of the Constitution provides that, “After the expiration in 1991 of the Agreement between the Republic of the Philippines and the United States of America concerning Military Bases, foreign military bases, troops, or facilities shall not be allowed in the Philippines except under a treaty duly concurred in by the Senate and when the Congress so requires, ratified by a majority of the votes cast by the people in a national referendum held for that purpose and recognized as a treaty by the other contracting State.”

    One may disagree with the wisdom of Aquino’s decision to enter into the agreement, but that would not make the agreement unconstitutional nor render impeachable his decision to enter into it. However, if one believes the EDCA cannot take the form of a mere executive agreement but should take the form of a treaty, the better course of action would have been to ask the High Court to prevent the Executive from implementing the agreement until it shall have been concurred in by the Senate.

    If after the Court shall have ruled that Senate approval is required, the President still refuses to submit the agreement to the Senate for concurrence, then that is when Aquino should be impeached for his constitutional offense.

    But the impeachment complaints were doomed from the very start for reasons other than those mentioned above. Assuming the House had transmitted the Articles of Impeachment to the Senate for trial, how on earth could the latter, in its present form, have constituted itself as an impeachment court? Having been bribed by Malacañang to convict Corona, most of the Senators have lost all moral authority to sit in any impeachment proceedings as “senator-judges.” It would be a complete travesty, were they to rest one hand on the Bible and raise the other to swear an oath, before God and on TV, to “render impartial justice.”

    Because of the wounds that have been inflicted on the impeachment process, it can no longer function as it should in the present Congress. It has been thoroughly corrupted and destroyed. This is why from the very beginning, I have proposed that a well-studied impeachment complaint against Aquino be circulated for mass signature to the public, and filed not with the totally discredited Congress but with the sovereign Filipino people, from whom all government authority emanates, and who will then decide what to do with it.

    That proposal is worth repeating, and those who are interested in pursuing it will not need the next twelve months to do it.

    fstatad@gmail.com

    Share.
    loading...
    Loading...

    Please follow our commenting guidelines.

    26 Comments

    1. Mr. Francisco Tatad when did you become patriotic enough to dare oust a President just because you perceived him (Pnoy) have destroyed DEMOCRACY! For using his DAP to bribe Congressmen to impeach Corona maybe a culpable violations of the Constitution or his unconstitutional usage of DAP may constitute high crimes ,but these are subjective deductions from events not proven as factual. Unlike in Marcos authoritarian rule where Marcos obliterated and coercive ly abolish Congress and eliminate a co-equal branch of a democratic govt, yet you justified this destruction of the foundation of democracy. So,how do yup reconcile your stand then to support Marcos type of dictatorial govt. And your position NOW to “oust” Aquino by the people on the streets due to perceived destruction of democracy Ask Francisco Tatad if he was clean, honest and truthful during his years of association with Dictator Marcos? My perception of Tatad is that he was not out of being loyal to Marcos he had to lie, lie and lied through his tongue, to justify Marcos Martial law rule. Did he benefit financially or otherwise for being a mouthpiece of Marcos and kept silent on the actual Marcos governance, his corruption, cronyism, brutal rule and torture and murders of student activists. How can Tatad remain in Marcos government for years unless some form of reward financial or otherwise he got. He may defend himself that he served out of “fear” of Marcos! If so at a young age when youth feel invulnerable, he felt scared! That’s plain cowardice if he felt he was a patriotic citizen! Now Tatad is advocating or supporting a parliament of the street to impeach Aquino. If he is courageous now, why was he not during Marcos to topple him! Tatad is just like Goebels, lies, lies and more lies, which later becomes the truth ! So Mr. Tatad have a consistent principle so you will have scruples and not labelled as a demagogue! What can you say Mr. Tatad

    2. WE DONT NEED CONGRESS ANYMORE TO IMPEACH AQUINO… IT’S HIS TURF AND THEY ALL HAVE BEEN PAID! LET’S VOICE OUT OUR IRE TO HAVE HIM STEP DOWN IF OUR SIGNATURES ARE STILL INSUFFICIENT TO HAVE HIM IMPEACHED…LET’S NOT FAIL TOO TO INCLUDE HIS WHOLE BUNCH OF CORRUPT PEOPLE WORKING TO PERPETUATE HIM IN THE PRESIDENCY!

    3. I think everybody knows that our present government is syndicated and the moves to avert its claws is useless. Let’s wait for the proper time to replace them – come the next election. To the electorate (voters) please chose the right candidates who can deliver the goods much needed by our fellowmen and country.

      • No matter how the citizens vote. The lower house congress will remain the same, “House of crocodiles” because the system forced them to be one of a kind. Party list was invented to cure the disease but it did not help much. Remember the security guard party list of Aroyo family.
        I have an idea how to create Professional, non-political, law makers house but it’s a long shot that needs constitutional amendment.

    4. There is a need to remove Pnoy from office before it will be too late to repair the damages done by a Stupid President. Let us unite and form a new Government for the people of this country! We must impeach Aquino now! The people will decide and not the corrupt congress
      .

    5. who are the people that can muster this impeachment? The people in congress who did this impeachment only mustered 4 votes and they cannot even convince the minority to side with them. The street protest only have a thousand attendance. The survey tallied an increase in dissatisfaction but there is still a 50% majority satisfied. So how can you find a majority of people willing to oust President Aquino? Democracy is still a numbers game. And right now the numbers are in favor of the president. Even VP Binay likes the Aquino recommendation.

    6. Our country is at a crisis. The government is not functioning properly. There should be a downright overhaul from top to bottom. The country is run by syndicate. The syndicate influences the president. A popular president has made decisions far from his understanding and does not know that he is tampering with what is right and what is wrong. Affront it seems the decisions of this president is good but in depth it worsens the situation. Most of the people also does not know what is happening because the syndicate make sure that their plan is totally hidden. But then the evidences are showing that there is something wrong. These are widespread high prices, poverty, and unemployment. Crime continues to rise and public service is low. But then what can we do? Our system of government has no solution for this kind of problem. As long as the executive and the congress are working hand in hand with the syndicate then there is no stopping for their flagrant actions. The Constitution is a mere paper document to them. The Supreme Court supposedly equal to them will be at a disadvantage now that we clearly see the situation. Right now the support of the people seems unlikely because they are mostly affected by the drama of a SONA and believed the lies therein. The lies of economic growth because of GDP. The changes and reforms that should have solved the problems before were only replaced by a new a problem. A more sophisticated syndicate that learned their lessons from the previous and this cycle continues as long as the system of government is as it is. The main purpose of this syndicate is our government continue to be a good customer of IMF/WORLD BANK and our countries debt continues to rise and the money we earn will only be paid for the interest of our countries loan. The loans which they give to our country which supposed to be used for our country’s improvement are mostly given back to them through corrupt officials using fake NGO’s and bloated government…

      • ding ,
        You have given fitting words to what i think is happening to our country. The country is under the clutches of a crime syndicate . Most of the citizens are under the spell of the lies and propaganda of this syndicate with the enigmatic president at its helm. The first kind of citizens, poorest ones, and therefore the most oppressed , ironocally, are the very first in the front line to defend this government from the enlightened critics. The second kind, were the educated ones with financial resources of some kind, who choose to side with the winners ( i.e. the criminal government ) for fear of being inconvenienced and ostracized from the ruling class . The third kind supports the sitting power, or whoever supplants the present ruling power . This third class is the power behind the throne. But they will not move for the benefit of the rest of the suffering society . If ever they will do, their motivation for doing so l is purely business at their personal level. They have the power and the money . They maybe politicians or oligarchs . Now , they are both politicians and oligarchs , like the Aquino family . That way, their potency is at the maximum .
        How do we get out of this situation ?
        It seems the end is not yet in sight .
        On a hopeful note : There are people, patriotic ones who are trying to put the country back on track , hopefully in a peaceful manner, and without bloodshed. Let’s just do whatever we can for our country.

    7. noelravalsalaysay on

      Another People’s Power March is in order NOW, peacefully, a hunger strike in front of Malacanang.

      • Hunger strike by force of circumstances, has been happening NOW throughout the country by Pnoy gross negligence or incompetence or retarded brain in managing the country’s economy! All they need to do is go to Malacanan and drag Aquino out to the streets and hang him upside down like Mussoulini!

    8. Who will lead the signature campaign, your secretive cleric led council ? If there has been any successful attempt at genuine reforms in this country that heavily involved the Church please enlighten me. I do not doubt your motives, Senator. In fact I admire your writing talents, but i suggest that from time to time you take off your Opus Dei lenses to make you see more clearly lest you fall for some crypto-fascist agenda. To repeat, this guy BS is the symptom, the oligarchy and their yellow ribbon enablers the disease. What does this council propose to do about this problem ? I will bet that you cannot drag your council to initiate a boycott of the 2016 elections because that will boil down to a duel between cleric vs the oligarchy, and you know that will never happen. Given the urgency of our situation- possible outbreak of war between the superpowers, epic corruption, coming energy and water crisis, the list is endless- any attempt at reform that falls short of civil disobedience is bound to fail. No offense, but what you in that council are doing is nothing but political onanism. Genuine reform must include the active participation of Juan dela Cruz, and must be aimed at no less than the heart of this monster that has enslaved him. ” When tyranny becomes the rule, resistance becomes duty.” How far will your cleric friends go to resist ?

    9. Mr Tatad you are under the influence of hallucination. F Marcos and J Estrada was impeached by the people thru EDSA people power. Do you think you can convince the people to do it against Ninoy.. NO NO NO ..The silent majority still believe with Ninoy. Those who are in the street shouting they are paid to do it.

      • Guadalupe Palanan on

        He has been hallucinating since the Marcos dictatorship was busted. Well, Mr. Tatad you can eloquently write anything under the sun in our country because our democracy has been restored and freedom of the press has been enshrined ever since the downfall of your boss. But you can not hide the facts that under Pnoy we started our ascent on the world stage. Before, we are the basket case of Asia but now we are the talk of the town and apple of the eye of foreign investors. Only in his administration that an RH Bill was passed, ignoring your Opus Dei council and the clergy opposition, which means he has the balls to confront anyone as long as this is for the betterment of our country, unlike previous administrations who balked at confronting the Church. He has shown political skills to rid off corrupt government officials unheard of in previous governments. So, bottomline is the SILENT MAJORITY will still support the TUWID NA DAAN to bring our country to full development.

    10. The zombies will never betray their master, they are all brain dead, they just want to pocket peoples money, they don’t care whatever happens to us as long as they are getting the lions share. These zombies should not be reelected instead they should all be put in prison or put into trial in a kangaroo court.

    11. Silverio Cabellon, Jr., M.D. on

      Sir,

      Surely Congressman Tupas must be invited to have a rejoinder to you column.

    12. Tita Boluso-Rimando on

      Pinoy’s enduring legacy is that he has corrupted whole systems/institutions. even the impeachment process has become a sit-com – and it’s not even funny, especially when you hear the convoluted logic and see the disorderly way the whole process is being handled.
      So yeah, where do i sign up for that public impeachment process!

    13. it looks like that the only hope of this country is the national transformation council, did i get the name correct?, which was formed by most of the bishops and well meaning people. i hope these well meaning people, including kit and their immediate kin , would vow and swear before God that after fixing the mess we are in would including the comelec’s hocus pcos election method, would disavow serving in the next gov’t. whether appointed or elected for a period of about six years. and i hope the council would immediately prosecute aquino, abad, drillon, belmonte, alcala etc for the crimes they have committed. if possible to impeach morales and pulido-tan for not doing their mandate and being used as a tool by aquino for his persecution of his enemies, real or imagined.

    14. Anong mapapala mo by impeaching a good president? Ano ba tlaga gusto nyong mangyari sa pilipinas? maawa nman kyo sa bansa natin. Cnu ba talaga gusto nyong maging president? Sana dahil kyo ang my mtaas na pinag aralan, kyo ang tumulong sa bansa natin. UP pa kyo cguro nag graduate ung skolar ng bayan, sana suklian nyo ang bayan. You might get me wrong but hindi ako supporter ni pnoy & i did not vote for him bcoz i have not known him as a senator but when he became president, i have seen many good things happen to ourcountry that is why i believe in whay he is doing to our country. Kng my ninakaw c pnoy kasuhan nyo. Khit mg pustahan pa tyo mg conduct ng referendum asking the people if they want to impeach him but the 2nd question is if the people want him for a 2nd term, im sure & confident the 2nd term will win. Sana tumulong tayo, in our history cnu alam nyo mas mbuti pa ky pnoy?

    15. Primer Pagunuran on

      I guess there is no need to belabor the issue since Tatad’s metaphorical soldiers simply lost, eclipsed the committee’s majority rule.

      That is representative democracy and that is the only route and space available. If it lost, it never wins. It will never be held, this distorted view of PNoy in what reads as a ‘cult of personality’.

      Enough.

      • Punta ka Kay Binay sa Makati Parking building at makiparti ka sa overprice at cake, senior kaba?

    16. Roldan Guerrero on

      I am not surprised why Ex-Sen. Francisco Tatad, although at very young age, had been a member of the late dictator as many calls, Ferdinand Marcos, who is considered a legal genius, for the fact that intellectuals resist appointing STUPID TECHNOCRATS whose only necessary qualification is being a KKK. The very simple discussion of matters and use of simple words in Sec Tatad`s writings makes it very easily understood by people like me who have less education as a result of the CORRUPTION VIRUS inflicted by self-serving politicos most likely found in the present regime. Your decision of joining The Manila Times, Sec Tatad is a boost to the Filipino peoples` better understanding of what is happening in our society these days. Another columnist in this newspaper, also a former senator but I never got interested in his writings. As if you are talking to a person with vocal disorder, further his topics are of less importance, most of which are purposely written to spray fragrance to the incumbent whom he had been associated w/ the family long time ago. Thank you very much Sec. Tatad, please continue the good work!

    17. Mr Tatad: I suppose what you are driving at is for the people to do something like a recall election. This is feasible provided it is clear how many percentage votes are required from the districts or from the whole roster of registered voters. We can try all we can to get rid of this unelected president that we have. And the sooner we act, the better. But if Aquino is recalled, does Binay replace him? In Binay, the country will not be well-placed either. They are made of the same corrupt stuff.

      • I cannot help myself from LOL, man, from what you just said. You, and honestly, Mr. Tatad whose political career has now been rendered completely impossible to resuscitate, are in a dilemma. You, in having to face the inevitability just in case, although it’s too far fetch, of course. Mr. Tatad may not have been too honest in just simply putting out the fact that impeaching the President by the people is just as impossible as impeaching him through the constitutional processes. The same having just failed very recently, and is the only legal means provided in our constitution.

        Recall is an entirely different process. It is applicable to local officials.