17 January 2012

[LEGAL NOTES] Simplifying the Senate Rules on impeachment trials

What is the nature of the impeachment proceedings before the Senate?  How will the trial proceed?  What are the salient features of the Senate Rules?  
The impeachment trial of Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona has already begun and the people are eager to watch, learn and analyze the ongoings. Hence, it is just but fitting that a short rundown of the Senate rules on impeachment trial be made so that the ordinary citizen may be apprised of the rules that govern this all-important proceeding which would ultimately affect the nation and the people’s lives.  

11 January 2012

[LEGAL NOTES] Supreme Court Chief Justice Corona betrayed the trust reposed in him by the Filipino people

Did Respondent Corona commit culpable violation of the Constitution and betrayal of public trust?
The Constitution expressly provides that “Public office is a public trust.  Public officers and employees must at all times be accountable to the people, serve them with utmost responsibility, integrity, loyalty, and efficiency, act with patriotism and justice, and lead modest lives” [1]. Any act of a public officer which defies the said constitutional mandate and renders the public officer unfit for his or her office is a “betrayal of the public trust”. 

03 January 2012

[LEGAL NOTES] Making sacred cows accountable: Impeachment as the most formidable weapon in the arsenal of democracy

What is an impeachment?  Was the Constitutional process fully complied with regards the impeachment complaint filed by the 188 members of the House of Representatives against Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona?

The Philippine democracy, young as it is, has weathered several challenges and has also given rise to a few innovations, so to speak. Among the more important ones is the concept and practice of “people power” which more than 25 years ago helped give back the power to the Filipino people and gave birth to the 1987 Philippine Constitution. Since then, despite certain weaknesses in the fundamental law and unfortunate abuse by officials, both appointed and elected, Philippine democracy has been “tried and tested” and constantly emerged victorious, embattled but reinforced. The cornerstone of this democracy is the fact that the electorate, the Filipino people are always considered to be the ultimate source of power and that public welfare is the be all and end all for all public officials. Thus, breaking the public trust, even by the highest officials of the land had always been met not only by criticism but by reformatory action, which although considered drastic is always within bounds of the law and supported by the people themselves.

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