Did you find time to watch the live coverage or the replay of the proceedings of the House Justice Committee? Ití¢â‚¬â„¢s better than a telenovela or a situational-comedy.
But there is also comedy in the House proceedings because of bad grammar used, or wrong word used, gaffes, and repetitive questions, or signs of senility. One lawyer even quipped: í¢â‚¬Å“Why should we sacrifice justice in behalf of grammar?í¢â‚¬
The purpose of the live coverage is to keep the people informed of the actions of their í¢â‚¬Å“Representativesí¢â‚¬ in Congress/Senate, and to witness for themselves the manner in which each of these Representatives fulfill their constitutional duty.
What is the constitutional duty of a Representative or a congressman/woman? Plain and simple: to uphold the laws of the Republic and uphold the Constitution.
The Constitution provides: The President, Vice President, members of the Supreme Court, members of Constitutional Commissions, and the Ombudsman may be removed from office, on impeachment for, and conviction of, culpable violation of the Constitution, treason, bribery, graft and corruption, and other high crimes, or betrayal of public trustx x x.í¢â‚¬ (Sec 2, Art. XI, 1987 Constitution).
As expressed by Justice Malcolm: í¢â‚¬Å“The basic idea of government in the Philippines is that of a representative government, the officers being mere agents and not rulers of the people, one where no one man or set of men have proprietary or contractual rights to an office, but where every officer accepts office pursuant to the provisions of law, and holds the office as a trust for the people whom he represents.í¢â‚¬
The Motion on the table was: í¢â‚¬Å“Whether or not there is enough ground to engender a well-founded belief that an impeachable offense such as betrayal of public trust had been committed by the Ombudsman, and should she be held for trial?í¢â‚¬
In answer, Cong. Josy Limkaichong said: í¢â‚¬Å“Yes!í¢â‚¬, with her clear voice full of conviction, she had done her constitutional duty for the people of the 1st District of Negros Oriental to have their voices heard, and together with 39 other congressmen, by majority vote, the Articles of Impeachment will be drafted and presented to the House, within 60 days, and which will be calendared within 10 days from receipt.
After consideration, at least one third vote of all the members of the House shall be necessary to forward the impeachment to the Senate.
The new majority led by Rep. Neil Tupas as chair of the Liberal Party has the numbers; the new minority led by Rep. Edcel Lagman (Lakas-Kampi), tried their best to block/delay the vote.
This is a reversal of fortunes because now, the impeachment complaint had prospered, while in the previous Congress, Lagman and his allies had the numbers to junk complaints. The tables have now turned.
There is a system of check-and-balance because we have the People Power Constitution, the fundamental law of the land. God bless the Philippines!