Friday, January 27, 2012

What are you impeaching him as?

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Impeachment, as provided by the 1987 Philippine Constitution, is the process of removing from office the President, the Vice President, the Members of the Supreme Court, the Members of the Constitutional Commissions and the Ombudsman  for culpable violation of the Constitution, treason, bribery, graft and corruption, other high crimes, or betrayal of public trust.

The Articles of Impeachement provided several grounds constituting culpable violation of the Constitution and betrayal of public trust. Chief Justice Corona is being tried as Chief Justice--a member of the Supreme Court. However, for the past few days, several documents pertaining to the SALN's of the Chief Justice prior his assumption as a Member of the Supreme Court and as Chief Justice were presented and marked as evidence.

Yesterday, Senator Escudero took notice of this and made a relevant question and a point that made a lot of sense--are they impeaching the Chief Justice based on his acts as Chief Justice, a member of the Supreme Court, or both? Or, are they to include the acts prior to the current position?

This makes a lot of sense, does it not? No clear answer has yet to be given, but the Presiding Judge has noted this issue and the Senator-Judges might come up with an answer in the coming days.

I have two views on this.

First view: CJ Corona should be tried as Chief Justice and therefore, only cover acts done as Chief Justice. After all, it is his current position and it is his acts as Chief Justice that he is being impeached for.

Second view: Although he is Chief Justice, he is first a member of the Supreme Court, thus including his acts as Associate Justice. Hence, the Chief Justice is not just impeached as Chief Justice but also as a member of the highest court.

In both views, it is clear that documents or information gathered and/or presented and marked as evidence before he became Member of the Supreme Court and in the first case, as Chief Justice, is deemed irrelevant.
You remove an official from his position because he is no longer fit to be in that position. Would it make sense if you remove a Vice President from office due to an act done when he was a Governor? Or, impeach a President because he violated a municipal ordinance when he was in college?

The only thing that makes sense to me right now is that the Prosecution has not really been making a lot of sense since the beginning of this Impeachment Trial.

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