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The Sovereign

December 28, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

The Sovereign
Ronald Roy — December 28, 2011

With bated breath, the nation awaits the commencement of the impeachment trial of Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona scheduled this coming January 16.

Last December 26, the Chief Justice filed his “Reply” with the Senate seeking the dismissal of all eight Articles of Impeachment brought before him by the House of Representatives. Mr. Corona cited numerous reasons why his impeachment should be declared unconstitutional.

As of this writing, the impeaching lower house is scheduled to remit to the upper chamber its formal reaction to the dismissal move of the accused. Many newsy developments are expected to erupt until the Senate President (Juan Ponce-Enrile?) bangs his gavel to formally declare the impeachment trial court open for business.

I write this piece to reflect my clinical excitement as a lawyer over a looming historic attempt to, one: unseat a Chief Justice of our country and two, disgrace the loftiest official of my profession. For this purpose, let me refer to the Filipino people as: The Sovereign.

This is so because the Sovereign are the author of the Constitution. How then can the three branches of government be higher than the creator, the Sovereign? Indeed, how can water rise above its source?

When Pres. Benigno Aquino intoned in his inaugural address: “kayo ang boss ko”, he correctly acknowledged the citizenry as the Sovereign to whose authority all, but all. must submit.

The Preamble of the basic charter says it all:

“We, the sovereign Filipino people, imploring the aid of Almighty God, in order to build a just and humane society, and establish a Government that shall embody our ideals and aspirations, promote the common good, conserve and develop our patrimony, and secure to ourselves and our posterity, the blessings of independence and democracy under the rule of law and a regime of truth, justice, freedom, love, equality, and peace, do ordain and promulgate this Constitution.”

The Sovereign express their welfare through the mechanisms of national elections, plebiscites, referenda, and surveys. In the national elections of 2010, The Sovereign overwhelmingly elected P-Noy as the President of our Republic, principally on his campaign promise that he would deal with poverty through the eradication of corruption—walang mahirap kung walang korap.

Clearly, that was a vow to promote the Sovereign’s welfare. Clearly, that was a vow the Sovereign then applauded, and still most enthusiastically do today, as verified by the SWS survey released last Dec. 23 that gave P-Noy a whopping 71% trust rating.

It is therefore most reasonable to assume that 71% of the citizenry are supportive of the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona— he, an impeachable government official perceived by The Sovereign as a manservant of a reportedly corrupt former de facto president, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

There is no question that all concerned should allow our senators to perform their unfamiliar judicial task of adjudicating the innocence or guilt of the Chief Justice with the least of hitches possible, and with a view to ensuring a full and fair ventilation of such facts and pieces of evidence as will come before them.

Would that our senators were fully cognizant that on January 16 they will be convened not as legislators, but as judges tasked to take the epoch-making first step to terminate what has become a cancerous culture of impunity—a criminal lifestyle, one might say, which Gloria Arroyo and her cohorts are inordinately believed to have nurtured throughout her purloined reign of greed and illicit power.

Likewise, it is hoped that the impeachment magistrates will manage to remain composed with the knowledge that Mr. Corona’s trial and the prosecution of his perceived benefactress in Gloria Arroyo are inextricably linked, in fine: that Chief Justice Corona must be removed from office because he is seen by the Sovereign as an obstacle to Arroyo’s ultimate plan to evade conviction and accountability.

Truth to tell, because senators are essentially dyed-in-the-wool politicians, it will be exceedingly daunting for some if not all of them to don their scarlet robes “with the cold neutrality of impartial judges”— a jurisprudential tag that now appears tarnished in the shady and seedy world of “hoodlums in robes”, to cite a famous quote by former President Joseph “Erap” Estrada.

Let’s call a spade a spade: A conservative 7 out of 10 judges are on the take. It just rubs me the wrong way seeing them demand justice for Mr. Corona. What about justice for the Sovereign?

Allow me the rudeness to give our impeachment magistrates some unsolicited advice.

One: They, not the Supreme Court, are the ultimate arbiter over all issues or questions, constitutional or not, that will surely come before them.

Two: They must be fair and just to all concerned, especially to the accused Chief Justice who, after all, is deemed innocent until proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt.

Three: They should hold out against pressures coming from ecclesiastical, militant, insurgent, professional business and other groups and elements.

Four: They must ensure that all their rulings, the final verdict especially. will redound to the Sovereign’s welfare.

Five: They should realize they will be closely monitored by the Sovereign who will decide their fate in the 2013 and 2016 elections based on their impeachment trial performance.

Lawyers, bar associations and other organizations engaged in the practice of law have come out openly in staunch defense of their beleaguered Chief.

They should not be upbraided for having taken an unpopular stand. As “officers of the court”, they have all been trained to discharge such a bounden duty they honestly believe to be necessary to uphold the Rule of Law and the Constitution.

But again, the welfare of the Filipino people, the Sovereign, supersedes the Constitution. Whatever be the outcome of their exercise to expel Mr. Corona from the public service, The Sovereign will surely learn from their own novel enterprise of ousting the 5th highest official of the Republic.

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