Supreme Court Hears More Conflicting Views at Hearing on Davide Impeachment Case

Manila Bulletin, November 6, 2003 | Go to article overview

Supreme Court Hears More Conflicting Views at Hearing on Davide Impeachment Case


Byline: REY G. PANALIGAN

The Supreme Court heard until late last night the arguments of the amici curiae (friends of the court), the petitioners, and intervenors in six cases challenging the constitutionality of the second impeachment complaint against Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide Jr.

The Supreme Court heard until late last night the arguments of the amici curiae (friends of the court), the petitioners, and intervenors in six cases challenging the constitutionality of the second impeachment complaint against Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide Jr.

Two friends of the court - University of the Philippines (UP) Law Dean Raul Pangalangan and former UP Law Dean Pacifico Agabin - said while the Supreme Court has jurisdiction over the cases, the court should exercise restraint and give Congress a chance to settle the issue.

Senator Aquilino Pimentel, as intervenor in the case, said the Supreme Court has no jurisdiction over the issue which rests purely with the legislative branch of government.

Deputy House Speaker Raul Gonzales and Rep. Salacnib Baterina, as petitioners in the cases, said that the second impeachment complaint against Davide is unconstitutional and the Supreme Court should immediately settle the issue.

The conflicting views and arguments heard by the Supreme Court since the other day when it started public hearing on the six cases involving the constitutionality of the second impeachment complaint and the imminent clash between the judiciary and the legislative branches prompted Justice Jose Vitug to exclaim: "God save our country."

As of 7 p.m., the High Court was still hearing the arguments of the rest of the petitioners. Also scheduled to be heard were the arguments of Solicitor General Alfredo Benipayo, and the lawyer representing the Senate.

A total of eight legal luminaries acting as friends of the court have aired their views since Wednesday.

Three of them - constitutionalist Fr. Joaquin Bernas, former Supreme Court Justice Florenz Regalado, and Court of Appeals Justice Regalado Maambong (all members of the Constitutional Commission that drafted the 1987 Constitution) - were of the view that the second impeachment complaint against Davide is unconstitutional.

Another three - former Senate President Jovito Salonga, Pangalangan, and Agabin - said that while the Supreme Court has jurisdiction over the issue raised in the six petitions, it should act with restraint. …

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