The fact, however, is that somebody is above the law – President Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Cojuangco Aquino 3rd.
That is the problem.
1. The Constitution provides that:
“The President shall have control of all the executive departments, bureaus and offices. He shall ensure that the laws be faithfully executed” (Sec. 17, ART. VII).
2. The Anti-Graft & Corrupt Practices Act, RA 3019, expressly provides that:
“No public officer shall be allowed to resign or retire pending an investigation, criminal or administrative, or pending a prosecution against him, for any offense under this Act or under the provisions of the Revised Penal Code on the crime of bribery” (Sec. 12).
3. The Civil Code provides that:
“Every person must, in the exercise of his rights and in the performance of his duties, act with justice, give everyone his due, and observe honesty and good faith.”
4. On July 22, 2010, a complaint for impeachment was filed against then sitting Ombudsman, Merceditas N. Gutierrez, before the House of Representatives, for acts constitutive of graft and corruption and betrayal of public trust.
5. Subsequently, the corresponding articles of impeachment were filed with the Senate. Initial hearing was set on May 9, 2011.
6. On April 29, 2011, or nine (9) days before the hearing, Gutierrez resigned. Her letter to President Aquino reads:
“Dear Mr. President,
I am tendering my resignation as Ombudsman of the Republic of the Philippines effective on the close of office hours of May 6, 2011.
Upon the effectivity of my resignation, I shall be reverted to the status of a sovereign citizen who will continue working for good governance.
Very truly yours,
(sgd.) Merceditas N. Gutierrez”
7. On the lower left portion of the letter appears the term “RESIGNATION ACCEPTED:” followed by the presidential signature and seal.
8. Was Gutierrez a public officer? YES, following the logic of the House of Representatives, the Supreme Court, and the Office of the President.
9. Was there a pending investigation against her at the time she filed her resignation? YES. Her impeachment was pending before the Senate. The sole purpose was to REMOVE her from office. The proceeding was, therefor, administrative in nature.
10. Was the presidential acceptance of the “resignation” lawful? NO. It was contrary to an express prohibition under the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.
11. Did PNoy violate Sec. 12 of RA 3019?
It is respectfully submitted the proper answer is YES. He did not comply with the PROHIBITION. Instead of NOT ALLOWING the resignation, he ALLOWED it.
12. Did PNoy, in the performance of his constitutional DUTY to “ensure that the laws be faithfully executed,” act with justice?
NO. He acted with injustice. He gave special treatment to Gutierrez in violation of RA 3019 and the equal protection clause under the Constitution (Sec. 1, ART. III).
13. Did PNoy give everyone his due?
NO. Gutierrez did not deserve the UNEQUAL TREATMENT; neither did those who were similarly situated.
14. Did he observe honesty?
NO. He acted with dishonesty. He acted as if the PROHIBITION did not exist.
15. Did he observe good faith?
NO. He acted in bad faith. He is conclusively presumed to have known of the PROHIBITION, but he DISREGARDED it anyway.
16. Did his legal advisers warn him about the PROHIBITION?
They either did or did not. If they did, that would MITIGATE their liability. If they did not, that would AGGRAVATE their liability. Either way, they are ACCOUNTABLE to the Filipino people.
The House of Representatives should initiate IMPEACHMENT proceedings against the President. And the Senate should conduct the corresponding trial, and rule accordingly.
If they don’t, the Filipino people will see that the honorable congressmen, newly elected or otherwise, treat Pres. Noynoy Aquino 3rd as one ABOVE THE LAW.