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Delegation of Exclusive Authority

Delegation of Exclusive Authority
Ronald Roy — 2012 May 16

In this our representative system of government, the sovereign Filipino people, instead of taking a direct hand in the removal from office of impeachable officials such as by way of referenda, plebiscites and other recognized modes of measuring public opinion, make it clear through their ratification of the Constitution that they have delegated the exclusive authority on members of the House of Representatives to initiate impeachment cases, and on members of the Senate to try and decide the same.

It is by way of this delegation of exclusive authority that the citizens make known their intention not to interfere in how their legislators will discharge their respective impeachment mandates as to procedures, rules of evidence and other matters that will govern the final verdict of innocence or guilt.

It is by way of this delegation of exclusive authority that the Constitution-ratifying citizens exhort the Senate, convened as an impeachment court, to consider only the facts and the evidence brought before it for adjudication, and nothing else, notwithstanding possible pressures wreaked upon it such as generated by mobsters, street parliamentarians, grandstanding politicians, sensationalistic media, and the like.

It is by way of this delegation of exclusive authority that the citizens, comprising the electorate that voted into office said Representatives and Senators, declare their expectation that these officials shall carry out their respective impeachment mandates with the highest degree of allegiance to the sovereign welfare of the former (salus populi est suprema lex) and not to their parochial political interests.

It is by way of this delegation of exclusive authority that all persons officially concerned in the ongoing impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato C. Corona are ordained to be imbued with the foreboding sense that “the sovereign Filipino people are watching the impeachment proceedings, and to them shall perfidious machinators and obstructionists (the small lady and other goblins) in the hallowed search for the truth be held directly accountable.”

It is by way of this delegation of exclusive authority that the Enrile Impeachment Court saw it fit to accept the defense panel’s offer to put the Respondent Chief Justice on the witness stand, in the spirit of hastening the search for the truth, and thus pave the way for the long-delayed resumption of both house’s principal mandate of legislation.

It is by way of this delegation of exclusive authority that the impeachment court’s final judgment is expected to be just as to the rights of CJ Corona and the 189 complainant-prosecutors, and remedial as to the imperative restoration of constitutional normalcy among the three branches of government, particularly in these trying times of deepening anxieties arising from prevailing developments undermining further our unstable relations with China, North Korea, America and other countries.

I profusely apologize for the seeming ostentatiousness of the foregoing treatise, but I hope it suffices to enlighten Ricky Ledesma who wants to know “the nature and extent of the relationship between legislators and the electorate in impeachment cases.”

At the same time, the said treatise serves as my reaction to a purported statement made by Impeachment Judge Gregorio Honasan that he and his fellow judges would, one: “focus on the testimony of the Impeached Chief Justice Corona as regards the allegation under Article 2 that he fudged entries in his SALN,” and two: “determine if his testimonial evidence is believable in the eyes of the people.”

I find extremely disturbing Sen. Honasan’s revelation that the impeachment judges will render their final verdict on the basis of what they will perceive to be the people’s appreciation of the respondent’s testimonial evidence, and not on their own evaluation of the same.

If this is the case, I would like to ask my good friend Gringo how he and his impeachment confreres intend to determine the believability of the respondent’s testimonial evidence, as appreciated in the eyes of the majority of over 90 million citizens.

It should bother all of us no end that the court may follow his suggestion and thus abdicate its mandate with disastrously unjust effects, the same way the wishy-washy Pontius Pilate’s abdication of authority sent an innocent man to be crucified in Calvaryin 33 Anno Domini.

Yes, Teddy (Alvarez), the beleaguered Chief Justice knows he may well rise or fall on his own testimony that everybody awaits, everybody who also wants to see the trial terminated in just a few more sessions. Largely, however, that would be up to the senator-judges themselves.

For me, Sarah (Delgado), the testimony of Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales was necessary, albeit tedious and not enlightening as to the scope of her authority in general, and in relation to her official relationship with the Anti-Money Laundering Council in particular.

In this respect, Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago’s interrogation of Ombudsman Morales was most authoritative and elucidating. She can be a cut above her peers on how not to waste the time of the court—if she cares to do so.

I completely agree, Sarah, that the right of the Judges to pose clarificatory questions appears more abused than exercised prudently. Obvious for quite some time now has been a penchant of some of them for asking questions in aid of legislation (a matter pertaining to their duties as senators, not judges), in aid of re-election or, in general, in aid of grandstanding for pogi points.

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