Arroyo, Others Back Supreme Court Ruling

Manila Bulletin, November 10, 2003 | Go to article overview

Arroyo, Others Back Supreme Court Ruling


Byline: FERDIE MAGLALANG

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and other leaders expressed strong support yesterday to the Supreme Court (SC) decision declaring as unconstitutional the move by the House of Representatives to impeach Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr. as she assured that the government will respect and abide by it.

The President said the decision of the Tribunal, the final arbiter and interpreter of the law, should be respected to avert a full-blown constitutional crisis that is feared to ensue should the House insist on its prerogative to transmit the second impeachment complaint against Davide to the Senate.

We shall follow the solemn duty to uphold the decision of the High Court and we shall enforce any directives issued by it. Let no one misunderstand or doubt our resolve to preserve and protect the Constitution, she said.

The Chief Executive expressed hope that House and Senate leaders will abide by the Tribunals decision with the highest national interest in mind and subsequently settle the protracted impasse with the judiciary over the second impeachment complaint against Davide.

We did not come this far in our long history as a nation to establish a constitutional democracy just to tinker with its basic principles. I am still hopeful that both Congress and the High Court will act with a congruence and faith and with the highest national interest in mind, she said.

Arroyo said she is still not giving up her move to forge a tripartite covenant among the three pillars of the government that she has drafted so that the controversy involving Davide would be finally settled while addressing lawmakers concerns over the alleged irregular disposition of the Judiciary Development Fund (JDF).

We have prayed all along for unity and reconciliation, and we trust in the noble intentions of everyone involved. A principled covenant is still the best way forward, she said.

Executive Secretary Alberto Romulo, in a press conference after receiving news of the Tribunals ruling, said the draft tripartite covenant could still be pursued, stressing that he does not see any conflict between the draft covenant and the SC decision.

He explained that the draft covenant, which has been rejected by proponents of the Davide impeachment complaint, was in consonance with the Constitution since it is hinged on constitutional processes and strengthens rather than weakens the countrys democratic institutions.

I do not see any conflict with the Supreme Court decision. The rule of law has been clearly enunciated by the court, he said, adding that he also hopes that Congress leaders will not defy the Tribunals decision so as to avert any constitutional crisis in the government.

Romulo, a former senator, said he believes the Tribunals decision will finally settle the protracted row between the House and the Supreme Court and allow lawmakers to resume their work, notably in beating the deadline in deliberating and passing into law the proposed national budget next year.

I have no doubt that they will pass the budget on time. The urgency of passing the budget this year is due to the election next year. I think members of Congress have this in mind, and that both houses feel the same way, he said.

Roco on SC decision

Presidential aspirant and former education secretary Raul Roco, on the Supreme Courts decision on Chief Justice Hilario Davides impeachment case, said yesterday: Every patriotic Filipino should support the decision of the Supreme Court.

It reaffirms democracy in the Philippines and renews its strength. Truly, the Supreme Court is the last bulwark of constitutionalism and rule of law, said Roco, a lawyer and former senator.

There is nothing to fear from this assertion of judicial supremacy. The judiciary is the weakest department.{s:r}It does not have the power of the purse: that belongs to Congress. …

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