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San Juan Gossip Mills Outlet

A veritable fanatic of the Internet. His avocation is teaching while his main vocation is practicing the much maligned law profession. Currently teaching Constitutional Law at the FEU Institute of Law and a guest lecturer at the De La Salle University teaching "Freedom and Regulation in Cyberspace" in the Graduate Program of the Department of Communication. He is married to his beautiful Ateneo law school classmate and is blessed with a daughter and a son.

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Location: San Juan, Metro Manila, Philippines

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Macalintal's Gobbledygook

Atty. Romulo Macalintal is making a mountain out of a molehill.  In an Inquirer news report, he claims the opposition cannot yet file an impeachment complaint because the previous one is still pending before the Supreme Court.  

Let us break the sum into its parts.

It is true that an impeachment complaint can only be filed once every anniversary year.

It is also true that there is a pending petition before the Supreme Court questioning the action of the Committee on Justice and also the plenary for dismissing the impeachment complaint last year.  

It is not true, however, that because a petition is still pending before the Supreme Court, an impeachment complaint cannot be filed for the simple reason that the Supreme Court has the power to bend its own rules.  The High Court can expediently consider that since a new impeachment complaint has already been filed before the House Secretary General which the justices can take judicial notice of, then it may consider the petition before the Supreme Court as motu propio or automatically withdrawn, thus rendering the prior petition as moot and academic.

In the alternative, the Supreme Court may choose to rule on the petition previously filed to finally interpret when a second impeachment complaint is barred and to further refine the ruling they laid down in the Francisco case where they pegged a reckoning point for an initiated impeachment complaint.

Whichever way one looks at the oncoming impeachment complaint, the protestations of Atty. Macalintal is as facile as his previous declaration that a proclamation of a national emergency is no different from a proclamation of a state of calamity. I remember retorting in the ANC’s The World Tonight that a proclamation of a state of calamity does not authorize the president, the military or the police to take over public utilities or the news media outlets.  

Atty. Macalintal knows his arguments are weak. But his audience is not the lawyers but the indifferent and the apathetic amongst us. He seeks to raise the specter of doom and gloom with the rise of another impeachment complaint to fester in that lackadaisical audience the spirit of pessimism and hopelessness.  He parrots the government line that it is hopeless to file another impeachment complaint simply because there not enough congressmen to send it to the Senate.  

Well, as the saying goes, it ain’t over till Congressman Zamora or the fat lady sings.  The impeachment complaint this year is no longer a simple wait and see attitude for the congressmen to run and hide.  The citizens will make sure that a day of reckoning shall fall on those solons who seek to count the costs and those who have expunged honor and principle from their political vocabulary.  2007 is not far behind.  The day of the Lord will be at hand!

5 Comments:

Blogger manuelbuencamino said...

1. Can the House ban live TV coverage of the impeachment?

2. Can the House say, we don't need to hear the charges. We have read it and we want to vote on it. Period.

If they can do either or both, I think that's the way they will go, Just to suppress the airing of those charges in a proper forum.

We may end up with another pathetic Power Point presentation at he plenary if either or both numver1 and 2 happen.

Can you give us some legal arguments why these cannot be done by Arroyo's House allies?

5:18 PM  
Blogger Edwin Lacierda said...

Manuel,

I would rather treat your two questions as rhetorical ones for the simple reason that these solons are publicity hounds and will take every opportunity to dazzle us with their brilliance or baffle us with their bullshit!

But to answer you, in the realm of possibilities, they can do so but that would be subject to existing House Rules. But I think they will not ban live coverage because to do so would engender a well founded belief that GMA and her allies are fearful of the charges.

They also cannot dismiss the charges without hearing them because it would be contrary to the House Rules and there are new charges foisted by the new impeachment complaint. And to suppress the charges would again raise the specter of suppression. Sabagay, makapal na rin lang naman sila, what is there to be embarrassed anymore?

But legally, they cannot ban live coverage because these are matters of public interests and the right to public information ranks high up in the hierarchy of constitutional rights. Second, media coverage can only be banned if it involves matters of national security. Certainly, the crimes charges against GMA are hardly the stuff of James Bond, more like the Keystone Kops with Garci and Joc Joc in the forefront.

No, sir, I do not think they can do the two things you raised. They must be so stupid or so dense to public incense or they must think we are so apathetic and indifferent that they will run roughshod over us. Either way, let's rock the vote in 2007 and boot out all those who will dismiss the charges.

11:38 PM  
Blogger manuelbuencamino said...

Edwin,

But isn't that what happened in Erap's case? The House just sent it up to the Senate without talking about it?

1:10 AM  
Blogger Edwin Lacierda said...

Manuel,

There is a difference there. In the Erap case, the required number of signatures of Congressmen was secured and therefore, in keeping with the 1987 Constitution, the complaint was elevated immediately to the Senate.

But if you are talking of dismissing the charges, the Committee on Justice, at the very least, should look into the charges. Since the Committee is composed of majority and minority congressmen, the likelihood of an absolute railroading by the administration will be remote especially with the likes of Escudero and Cayetano around.

1:23 AM  
Blogger manuelbuencamino said...

Thanks. I was worried that Arroyo allies would find a way to suppress the truth.

And I agree with your opinion that Makalintal is just being a pest

11:23 AM  

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