Knocked down impeachment complaints

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Wednesday, September 3, 2014


EVERYONE, including perhaps those who filed the impeachment complaints against President Benigno Simeon Aquino III, expected that the House of Representatives committee on justice would reject the three impeachment cases.

On Tuesday, the committee dismissed the three impeachment complaints on grounds of insufficiency in substance. It voted 54-4 to terminate the debate for all the three complaints.

The committee on justice voting last week to declare the three impeachment complaints to be sufficient in form was purely consuelo de bobo for those who initiated the complaints.

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I said in my column last week that the three impeachment complaints would not reach the Senate. It didn’t.

According to the House Rules on Impeachment, the requirement of substance is met if there is a recital of facts constituting the offense charged and determinative of the jurisdiction of the committee.

Actually, impeachment being a political issue, is determined by the number of representatives who belong to the same political party and not strictly about the procedure on impeachment.

Only Iloilo City Rep. Jerry Treñas came up with a sensible defense of the committee’s decision junking the complaints. He said all the three complaints were dismissed not because the congressmen are allies of the President but because they are premature.

Treñas said that at the time of the filing of the complaints, the Supreme Court’s decisions on the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) and the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (Edca) have not been made final.

There was no culpable violation of the Constitution because there was no conscious and deliberate intention of the President to violate the constitution, Trenas said.

Kabataan party-list Rep. Terry Ridon, however, promised to pursue the fight against the “yellow dictatorship.” He said the President does not have control of the street parliament. The committee on justice kowtowed to the whims of the emerging dictator, said Ridon.

Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) said the House committee on justice demonstrated to the public that it embraces "patronage, corruption and injustice" instead of reason. The National Union of People's Lawyers (NUPL) also said the "tyranny of numbers" proves that democratic institutions and processes are mere formalities.

So, where do we go from here? Would Congress amend the Constitution to allow President Aquino to go for another term? I could see a “baluktot na daan” (crooked path) ahead.

***

The bravery and courage that the Filipino soldiers, who are part of the United Nations (UN) peacekeeping mission in the Golan Heights, demonstrated in repelling the attack by Syrian rebels of their camp was truly exemplary.

What is disturbing, though, is the claim by AFP Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang that the UN peacekeeping commander in the Golan Heights asked our brother soldiers to surrender to Syrian rebels.

What the UN peacekeepers’ commander did was an act was cowardice of the highest order if not disloyalty to service and country when he ordered the soldiers to surrender to the Syrian rebels. Good that the Filipino soldiers defied the commander’s gutless order.

Reports had it that the UN peacekeepers were trapped in the camp after Syrian rebels entered the UN-patrolled buffer zone, seizing 44 Fijian soldiers. But our brother Filipino soldiers did not give up even if they were outnumbered and surrounded.

That there were no casualties among our soldiers is one reason why we should thank

God. The soldiers deserve medals of bravery and not just commendations.

(atty.ellieE@gmail.com)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 04, 2014.

Opinion

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