Solution in Sight - Arroyo; House Asks Supreme Court to Respect Congress' Jurisdiction in Impeachment Cases

Manila Bulletin, November 3, 2003 | Go to article overview

Solution in Sight - Arroyo; House Asks Supreme Court to Respect Congress' Jurisdiction in Impeachment Cases


Byline: FERDINAND J. MAGLALANG & BEN R. ROSARIO

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo yesterday expressed confidence that a win-win solution to the impasse brought about by the move to impeach Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr. is in sight.

In a speech yesterday morning at the 105th Postal Service Anniversary and Postal Consciousness Week, the President said there is now a growing consciousness that all concerned must have a common stand that will reflect their collective statesmanship but added that she cannot do it alone. (See related story on Page 12.)

Everyone concerned will have to bend backwards a bit without sacrificing principles. Im sure that right now a win-win solution is in sight, the President said.

The President said she has prayed hard about the impeachment controversy and consulted deeply with leaders from the three institutions. There is a growing consensus that we have crossed a political threshold to the point wherein the President must step in and forge a principled solution to the impasse, she said.

The President said that she believes that her proposed five principles are leading us along the road to a principled solution, and along the road to stability and political progress.

The principles behind the covenant the President proposed are:

We must respect the supreme welfare of the people are defined by our Constitution and political traditions.

There must be an affirmation of co-equality, independence, but indispensable cooperation and harmony among the three branches of government.

We must enforce the principles of checks and balances as instruments of national unity and stability and not of partisanship.

The executive, legislative, and judicial authorities must come together as trustees of the public interest and find a resolution to the controversy within the rule of law.

Democratic governance must be based on mutual trust, respect, civility, responsibility and transparency among its leaders.

There are continuing attempts to sow divisiveness in the nation, she said, but these efforts are futile and will fail because the people are tired of infighting. The people want unity and reconciliation, the President said.

We want to promulgate justice with reconciliation. We want reforms to uplift the poor and make life more comfortable. The government will lead these reforms and this reconciliation, the President said.

House stand

Speaker Jose De Venecia, through House legal counsel Leonardo B. Palicte III, submitted before the Supreme Court a 33-page manifestation urging the justices to exercise judicial statesmanship and restraint by respecting the Congress right of sole and exclusive jurisdiction over impeachment proceedings.

Palicte stressed that the chamber filed the manifestation solely as an act of courtesy to the Court and should not be construed as a submission to the Courts jurisdiction.

The manifestation was in answer to the six court petitions, including that of Deputy Speaker for Visayas Raul Gonzales and Rep. Salacnib Baterina, that questioned the constitutionality of House action on two impeachment cases filed against Davide.

To stress the point made by the chambers leadership, De Venecia revealed that the Lower House will no longer appear before the High Court when it hears the oral arguments of the pending case on Nov. 5.

De Venecia said Palicte and seven other House lawyers questioned the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court over the impeachment case.

We believe that the House of Representatives, in its exercise of its constitutional duty has the exclusive power to file impeachment proceedings against any justice of the Supreme Court since this is a political issue, not a legal issue and therefore, we are saying that the Supreme Court has not jurisdiction over the case, De Venecia said.

The manifestation submitted by the House lifted extensively from a written opinion of constitutionalist Fr. …

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Solution in Sight - Arroyo; House Asks Supreme Court to Respect Congress' Jurisdiction in Impeachment Cases
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