Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Corona Impeachment

The headline on major newspapers and broadsheets in the Philippines yesterday and today is the impeachment of Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona. Based on reports, he was already impeached by the Lower House yesterday with about 188 solons signing the Articles of Impeachment almost double of the required votes needed to transmit the Articles of Impeachment to the Senate. On TV yesterday night was interviews of various personalities from opposing camps who are out to get the sympathy of the public. Some say that the process was railroaded on Congress that some congressmen didn’t even read the complaint and just immediately signed in favor of the impeachment. In one speech from Chief Justice Corona, he said that he will defend the Supreme Court and its independence, that or something to that effect.

My two cents on the issue, this is democracy at work. In the first place, the impeachment process is provided for in the constitution to do what they call as check-and-balance between the three co-equal branches of the government. With the heating word war between the Executive and the Judiciary, it is almost expected that the Legislative branch will come into play. That is what they are there for, to break the status quo. It is not the Church that should mediate between opposing branches of government. It is the job of the legislature. It is just unfortunate for CJ Corona that he is the subject of the impeachment procedure. But it could also be the President.

The insinuations that the procedure was railroaded, is a non-issue. Ultimately, these congressmen will decide about this complaint one way or the other. Why prolong the agony? The framers of the constitution should have provided safety nets so this law will not be abused. These congressmen were supposed to be the voice of their constituents and they should be accountable if they fail to represent the interest of the people.

It’s ironic that lawyers and even constitutionalists who helped frame the constitution seemed surprised on how fast things are going. They should know that this is a political exercise; Congress is not a court of law. These solons are politicians and they are expected to act as one. Should we expect them to scrutinize the details of the complaint and conduct a thorough investigation? At the end of the day, it will be a numbers game, the majority rules in a democracy.

If there’s anything that we can learn from this experience, it is the fact that no one is indispensable in the government. Presidents or Supreme Court Justices can be impeached. But more than the impeachment is the people’s perception. If the people think that you are guilty then there’s nowhere else to go but down. You may get away with the impeachment case, just like what happened to former President Erap, but you cannot escape the wrath of the people if they are not satisfied with the outcome of these processes. In the end, this is a government of the people, by the people and for the people. That is what democracy is all about.

No comments:


Blog Widget by LinkWithin