Santiago Sees a "Failed State" PH If Chief Justice Is Impeached

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MANILA, Philippines (PNA) - Constitutional law expert Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago said Friday that the Philippines will become a "failed state," if administration representatives succeed in filing an impeachment complaint against Chief Justice Renato Corona.At an impromptu press conference, Santiago discussed the Supreme Court's recent decision declaring as unconstitutional the Truth Commission which was created under President Benigno S. Aquino III's Executive Order No. 1."The rumor that certain members of the House of Representatives are passing around an impeachment complaint for signature makes people jumpy. If the agitators succeed, the Philippines will definitely become a failed state according to standards set by the international legal community," she said.Santiago said that impeaching a chief justice by imputing "political motives" behind a decision clipping the President's powers would be fatal to the tripartite system of government."The executive and legislative branches are political in nature. But the judicial branch is nonpolitical. If the chief justice is removed for political reasons, then that would be a signal that even the judicial branch has also become political. That would be the end of our democracy as we know it today," she said.Santiago said there was no need for panic among President Aquino's supporters, because EO No. 1 and its declared unconstitutionality "is merely part of the learning curve process."Santiago said that President Aquino should not be derided over his judicial defeat, because he is learning on the job and he is handicapped by the lack of a legal adviser with expertise in constitutional law."Most Supreme Court decisions turn on a constitutional issue, and logic dictates that President Aquino should have a topnotch constitutionalist in his staff. Of his present lawyers, I would merely say that their doctrinal foundations are horribly inadequate," she said.Santiago also warned the public, saying that since the case remains pending, there should be no discussion on the merits, but only on the factual circumstances of the case."The Supreme Court has the power to cite for contempt any person spouting his own peculiar judicial philosophy while the case is pending. …