I CHOOSE NOT TO PARTICIPATE IN THIS IMPEACHMENT PROCESS

A Manifestation
Rep. Lorenzo R. Tañada III
4th District, Quezon Province
2 December 2008

Mr. Speaker,

Friends from both sides of the aisle and outside the halls of this august chamber have asked why I did not participate in the Committee of Justice during the impeachment proceedings.

Mr. Speaker,

I purposely boycotted the impeachment proceedings in the Committee of Justice. After having witnessed and participated in three impeachment proceedings, it is my humble opinion that no sitting President, present or future, will ever be impeached by the House of Representatives through proceedings in the Committee on Justice. As a matter of fact, I do not even see any future impeachment complaint hurdling the obstacle of “sufficiency in substance”. The only avenue left for a sitting or future President to be impeached is through the “fast-track” model that is if 1/3 of the Representatives affix their signatures as endorsers of the impeachment complaint or vote against the Committee Report dismissing the impeachment complaint which seems to be an impossibility nowadays when this or any President in the future commands tremendous power and influence.

Mr. Speaker,

Sumasangayon ako na ang impeachment ay isang political na proseso kung saan ang tanong na dapat sagutin ng impeachment court sa Senado ay kung tatanggalin ba o hindi ang Pangulo. It is not the duty of the House of Representatives to act as an impeachment court. Sad to say, in my humble opinion, the House of Representatives has been over-stepping its duty and has been acting as an impeachment court by the sheer force of numbers and not out of reason and fairness.

I believe that the Truth will never be ascertained in a political process where numbers are used as a basis on determining whether a President should be held accountable for his or her actions. As I explained my vote in previous impeachment proceedings, impeachment proceedings do not automatically find a President guilty but may also declare him innocent.

Mr. Speaker,

When will we ever take the task to impeach public officials seriously so much so that we take time to hear and appreciate testimonies and evidence?

How do we view our sole and sacred duty as members of the House of Representatives to hold the President accountable as enshrined in the Constitution?

Is the Article on Accountability of Public Officers regarding the Office of the President rendered inutile by sheer numbers?

Is this the message that we want to send the youth? That numbers can hide the truth.

Mr. Speaker,

I can feel our youth’s disenchantment with political institutions and their sense of helplessness and hopelessness. We may pat ourselves in the back and be proud of what we accomplished today. I feel we just proved to the youth of the land that we the House of Representatives have failed to inspire them to love our country more beyond self and beyond party affiliation.

Mr. Speaker,

Paumanhin sa mga kaibigan sa mayorya at sa minorya na alam kong ibinigay ang panahon sa napakasalimuot na isyung ito. Ayokong maging bahagi sa isang proseso na nagbibigay ng maling pag-asa sa hinahanap nating katotohanan. Tiyak ako na ito ang ikakasira na naman sa imahe at kredibilidad ng Mababang Kapulungan kung may natitira pa.

And so, I choose not to participate in this process. I choose to boycott and not take part in the vote that we are about to cast tonight.

Thank you very much.

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Guingona adds name to impeach rap

AND NOW THERE ARE 4
Guingona adds name to impeach rap

By Lira Dalangin-Fernandez
INQUIRER.net
First Posted 10:08:00 10/29/2008

MANILA, Philippines –Now there are four — endorsers of the latest impeachment complaint against President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, that is, after another lawmaker added his name to the petition.

Bukidnon Representative Teofisto Guingona III officially endorsed the complaint because he believed that the impeachment trial could be a venue for the President to answer all the issues that have been raised against her.

“I have always been supportive of the impeachment. I think it should be seen as a political statement that until now the people are still yearning for explanations on issues like the North Rail, ZTE, electoral fraud, graft and corruption,” he told reporters after speaking in a forum at the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City.

The complaint, filed on October 13 by Jose de Venecia III, lawyer Harry Roque, Iloilo vice governor Rolex Suplico, civil society and militant groups, was endorsed by partylist Representatives Satur Ocampo and Teodoro Casino of Bayan Muna and Liza Maza of Gabriela.

Guingona acknowledged that opposition forces in the House of Representatives would have a hard time getting the numbers to send the complaint to the Senate for a trial, but said that this would not deter them from pursuing the complaint.

He called on fellow lawmakers to look at the impeachment “not just as a process” but “a reminder to the people” that the President owed the public an explanation.

The complaint will be tackled by the chamber when session resumes on November 10.