Hell to the Chief (Another soap opera of real life)

In just three days, the political landscape of the Philippines was changed drastically--and dramatically, at that. 

On Monday, 12 December 2011, the House of Representatives with a vote 1/3 of its total members or 188 Congressmen impeached Chief Justice Renato Corona. The Articles of Impeachment contain grounds involving betrayal of public trust, culpable violation of the Constitution and graft and corruption. It likewise specifically cites his “undue closeness” to former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. CJ Corona was the third to be impeached in Philippine History following Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez and former President Joseph Estrada. It was the first, however, to be submitted within six hours. This impeachment was rather surprising for most Filipinos considering that legal processes appear to be slow.

The following day, Tuesday, 13 December 2011, the Senate received the Articles of Impeachment. Under the Constitution, the Senate shall have the sole power to try and decide all cases of impeachment. 

Today, 14 September 2011, Wednesday, the RTC judges in the National Capital Region declared a court holiday in support of the impeached Chief Justice. The judges and court personnel convened to show numbers and extend warm support to the head of the Judiciary. At two o'clock in the afternoon, CJ Corona delivered his speech before a black-clad audience in front of the Supreme Court building in Padre Faura in Manila. He spoke sternly against President Noynoy Aquino and pointed to him as the mastermind of all these attacks. He stressed that the impeachment complaint was an attack not only to his person but most importantly to the judiciary as a whole. In a few hours after he delivered his speech, the Senators in their red robes convened as an impeachment court and resolved to convene again in January to try the Chief Justice.

I guess the next few days will turn out to be more exciting other than because of Christmas. 

On a personal note, I would like to remain neutral, although not necessarily apathetic regarding this matter. As a bar hopeful, I am concerned that the institution to which I will soon belong with is under attack much less its symbolic head. What I am more interested, though, is how this will affect the whole political scenario. Will the Chief Justice be impeached? How will the Senators decide on this? Will we ever finally impeach a public official with its trial seen through its end? Will the supremacy of the rule of law be upheld? On the other end, is the current president turning out to be a scheming dictator? Are we forsaking democracy? 

These are the more pressing questions running in my head at this point...and I am seriously excited to see how the answers will unfold. 

In this political boxing, I wish that in the end the Rule of Law and the common good will win. If this is a desperate move on the part of the President to remove the Arroyo-appointees, we do not really know. What I know, however, is that the impeachment was rushed and a little bit procedurally infirm, Although, these procedures are not specifically mandated by the Constitution, perhaps, we'll get away with that. :)

I also wish to see a more learned and mature Philippines--that includes both the government and the people. If it will be necessary, I hope there is a time machine that will transport us back to olden days and review the lessons of our bitter past. 

As we say it in Tagalog, "Abangan nalang natin ang susunod na kabanata..." (Let's see what happens next). See, we've got another soap opera to watch... :)

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