Lawmaker confirms possible impeach raps vs CJ-A A +A
Friday, December 10, 2010
WHILE the House leadership has denied rumors that there is a looming impeachment case against Chief Justice Renato Corona, the committee on justice chairman said some of his colleagues are already “frustrated and disappointed”.
After no less than President Benigno Aquino III said that some members of the House of Representatives floated possible impeachment raps against Corona, committee on justice chairman Niel Tupas, Jr. (Iloilo) confirmed that he has been approached by civil society groups and non-government organizations expressing dismay over the decisions of the Supreme Court (SC).
“May mga grupo outside of Congress particularly yung mga civil society groups and non-government organizations na dismayado na rin, dismayado na sa Supreme Court,” Tupas told reporters Thursday.
“Yes, I’m confirming the statement of the President…matunog talaga (calls for impeachment) from outside,” he stressed.
The SC earlier thumbed down the Palace’s Executive Order No.1 creating the Truth Commission. Before this, it also issued a status quo ante order stopping the House justice committee from proceeding with the impeachment case against Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez.
“Yung mga congressmen naman sometimes naguusap-usap kami diyan lalo na ngayon sa mga issues at may iilan na nagssignify ng kanilang frustration and disappointment,” said Tupas, adding that the disappointment does not necessarily come from the Liberal Party (LP) block alone.
The LP, Aquino’s political party, has yet to issue a statement on the matter.
Tupas meantime assured that he will not intervene in the possible filing of an impeachment case to remain fair during the proceedings.
“What I can assure is that if ever a case of impeachment is filed against the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, I’ll make that a priority…and the committee will concentrate on that, whether it will be dismissal of this particular complaint or will result into an impeachment.”
Tupas added the disappointment of groups outside Congress and the lawmakers themselves is not only on the Chief Justice, but all the justices of the High Tribunal.
For his part, Deputy Speaker Lorenzo Tanada III (Quezon) would first like to look at the grounds of the possible impeachment case and why the SC justices should be impeached.
“Right now, there is no impeachment complaint. But there is a lot of frustration coming from the civil society,” Tanada said in a text message.
House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte (Quezon City) and Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales II (Mandaluyong) however denied the rumors of a looming impeachment case against Corona.
“Where did you get that information? I’m not aware of it,” Belmonte told Sun.Star.
But if the filing of an impeachment case pushes through, Tupas said it will gather support from congressmen because of their frustration over how the SC handles cases involving the executive and the legislative.
Akbayan Representative Kaka Bag-ao said the initiative of filing an impeachment case might come from the Arroyo camp at the House of Representatives to protect her appointees at the High Court.
Go back to law books
For his part, Ang Galing Pinoy Representative Juan Miguel “Mikey” Arroyo, son of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, said it would be best if the President’s men drafting the EOs should go back to their law books.
EO No. 1 tasked the Truth Commission to look into the allegations of corruption against the former President Arroyo and her Cabinet officials.
“(They should) study again and probably realize their executive orders in the proper legal way,” Mikey said.
He added it is unfair for the Aquino administration to accuse his mother of being guilty in alleged corrupt acts without proper investigation.
“Panget naman yung you will enter into a process, matatalo ka tapos iiyak ka na dinaya ka. Dapat hindi na tayo parang bata,” the younger Arroyo said.
He said it is “scary” that the executive will always go for a filing of an impeachment case whenever an impeachable official contradicts it.
Aquino lost his cool
Minority Leader Edcel Lagman meanwhile said that President Aquino has lost his cool in the wake of the SC decision declaring the Truth Commission unconstitutional.
According to Lagman, the President has engaged in name-calling by labeling the majority justices as the “deaf and blind”.
The opposition lawmaker said if Aquino wants to investigate and prosecute officials of the Arroyo administration, they should file a case before the Department of Justice and the Office of the Ombudsman.
“Neither propaganda and sloganeering nor unlawful shortcuts must taint or detract a supposedly noble crusade against graft and corruption,” he added. (Kathrina Alvarez/Sunnex)