The Senate Impeachment Court, its unique power

AS IT APPEARS - Lorenzo Paradiang Jr. -

In a talkshow, Atty. Libarios as national IBP president declared that aside from a motion for reconsideration of Corona’s motion for preliminary investigation denied by the Senate, there’s another remedy. Libarios cited a resort to certiorari with the Supreme Court.

In another TV talkshow, three law professors – one law dean and professor Ernst Maceda, and lady UP professor Vicky Avena – also commented on whether or not the actions and rulings of the Senate as Impeachment Court are subject to SC review. Professor Maceda opined that its rulings may be raised by certiorari with the SC on “constitutionality” issue.

The dean and the lady posit that the Impeachment Court is a unique and independent constitutional body, basically political in nature, beyond the power of the SC. The law dean cued in that in U.S.A., the decisions of the Impeachment Court are final. He is hinting that the Philippine government was patterned after U.S.A.; thus, by analogical statutory construction, the finality of the Philippine impeachment is a fixated truism, given the emphatic “sole power to try and decide” phrase (Section 6, Art. XI, Constitution).

Avena traced the impeachment calls from the Executive and the People, picked up by the House in their Articles of Impeachment and, despite Corona as chief justice, nonetheless, the impeachment doctrine is above the Executive, the Legislative, and the Judiciary.

Coincidentally, six petitions for issuance of TRO remain pending before the SC to stop the on-going impeachment proceedings, are violative of the principle on forum-shopping because of the pendency of the impeachment. Besides, the Senate Court is beyond the sway of any court.

That any “unconstitutional” issue be within the ambit of the SC on certiorari; again, one strongly doubts if it holds water. As correctly hinted by Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile as presiding magistrate, their personality is a unique attribute, and their rulings are final based on their own rules of procedure.

Indeed, the SC is court of “the last resort”; but in impeachment it is subject to the unique power of the Senate as Impeachment Court. For instance, like now when the Chief Justice is the respondent, or any other SC justice, the situation becomes justiciably awkward. Here’s the accused SC Chief Justice, or any Associate Justice, who goes to his colleagues to review the Senate decision or ruling, isn’t it illogical when members of the Supreme Court are themselves also impeachable officers?

With no existing power of review over the Senate Impeachment Court, what check and balance could rationalize such unique power? While there’s no provision in the Constitution, the sovereign power of the people which had been amply demonstrated by “People Power” at EDSA, and many other protests of the men of the streets, proved effective to check government abuses, especially by the Executive.

This People Power has become the motif in seeking redress of grievances throughout the world. The Arab Spring uprisings starting in Nigeria, Tunisia, and spread to Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Libya and other Arab aristocratic rulers and in North Africa have been ominous. In Russia where the aristocracy long ruled as repressive regime, President Vladimir Putin is hard put to appease the long-suffering Russian peasants and the youth. A milder degree of protests is Walk the Wall Street that originated somewhere in New York near “ground zero” of 9/11, yonder Canadian common householders and Americans hard hit by the real estate mortgage crisis followed suit.

Hence, Filipinos need not fear that should the Senate Impeachment Court exceed and abuse its awesome power, there’s the bigger power to reckon with, the “People Power”.

vuukle comment












  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

Get Updated:

Signup for the News Round now

or sign in with