Opening Salvo and Technicalities
What technicalities are we going to expect from them?
Consider the first salvo of Atty. Romulo Macalintal whose forte is the highly lucrative practice of Election Law and not Constitutional Law. He posits the idea that the new impeachment complaint cannot prosper because the old one is still pending before the Supreme Court. That is an understandable interpretation from someone who is well versed in quasi-judicial proceedings but who does not seem to differentiate between an appeal and a petition for certiorari. That argument has largely been answered by the impeachment team. He is beating a dead horse dead since last year.
And if he fails to get the nod of the House to stop them from hearing the case, Atty. Macalintal will file a petition before the Supreme Court hoping to for the court to issue an injunction to prevent Congress from pressing on with the impeachment complaint. While possible, to would largely violate the separation of powers doctrine if the Court issues an injunction.
Then Atty. Oliver Lozano will come into the fray and hazard his weird theory that his complaint has been filed with Secretary General, notwithstanding the fact that there is no endorsement and notwithstanding the fact that his complaint has been dismissed last year.
Then the pro-administration congressmen will read the complaint and state several points: (1) the charges are rehashed, merely abbreviating the charges filed in the previous impeachment complaint; (2) the charges brought about by the Supreme Court declaration on the unconstitutionality of E. O. 464, PP No. 1017, and the Calibrated Preemptive Response are not grounds defined as culpable violation of the constitution because at the time of their issuance, the presumption of regularity exists; and (3) the killing of journalists and members of leftists organizations, assuming they are true, are not the direct commission of the president and therefore, the association is stretched.
But if those claims are true, I reckon there is nothing for them to worry about and so, let the complainants present their evidence in the Committee on Justice. In the words of Alfred Neumann, “What me, worry?“
Of course, at the end of the day, the administration will always resort to a carrot and stick approach to prevent 79 congressmen from endorsing the complaint. On that point, no constitutional ratio, however compelling, can prod 79 souls to sign other than their own personal convictions and principles, not mammon, to guide their conscience. But before the voting occurs, it is hoped that a mass movement of voters will compel their representatives to do the right thing.
It is in this final stage that Constitutional Law leaves us bereft of any assistance and we are constrained to appeal to a Higher Force to make the leap from endorsement to impeachment.