We Should Remain Steadfast with Rule of Law; Cecilia Munoz-Palma President, Claudio Teehankee Foundation and Center for the Rule of Law President, Constitutional Commission of 1986

Article excerpt

RE: The Letter and Intent of the 1987 Constitution Prohibits the House of Representatives from initiating a Second Impeachment Complaint against the same individual within one year from the filing of the first complaint

The Board of Trustees and Officers and Members of the TEEHANKEE FOUNDATION AND CENTER FOR THE RULE OF LAW hereby express their strong and urgent concern over the initiation of a second impeachment complaint against the Honorable Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide Jr., its venerable Chairman, within the prohibited period of one year expressly provided for in Section 3(5) of Article XI of the 1987 Constitution.

The Foundation makes of record its considered view, based on the RECORD OF THE CONSTITUTIONAL COMMISSION OF 1986, at pages 373 to 376, and at 382 that.

1. Initiation refers to the filing of any verified complaint by a Member of the House or by a citizen, with the endorsement of a Member of the House, as provided in Section 3(2) of Article XI of the Constitution, and initiation could not therefore refer to the filing of the Articles of Impeachment in the Senate;

2. The one-year prohibition was intended by the framers of the Constitution to allow Congress to continue with its main function of legislating laws, and limit the frequency of impeachment proceedings. As stated in the Record, at page 282;

MR. ROMULO. Yes, the intention here really is to limit. This is not only to protect public officials who, in this case, are of the highest category from harassment but also to allow the legislative body to do its work which is law making. Impeachment proceedings take a lot of time and if we allow multiple impeachment charges on the same individual to take place the legislature will do nothing else but that.

We therefore appeal to the President as the Chief Enforcer and Protector of the Integrity of the Constitution, and to the Senate President, and Speaker of the House and their colleagues in Congress, pursuant to their sacred oaths of office to uphold the Constitution of the Republic, to take all reasonable action to prevent the blatant disregard and violation of the fundamental law of the land, and in case of any doubt on this issue, we urge the Congress to jointly refer this matter to the Honorable Supreme Court, which under the Constitution is ordained to be the final interpreter of the Constitutions provisions and intent. …