[Blueboard] Impeachment Violates the Rule of Law

ahrc at aps.ateneo.edu ahrc at aps.ateneo.edu
Fri Oct 24 18:46:58 PHT 2003

Letter to the Editor (October 24, 2003)

Impeachment Violates the Rule of Law

If the rule of law is going nowhere in this country, the House of
Representatives appears to be leading the way. On Thursday this week,  87 of
the 226 members of the House  signed an impeachment complaint against Supreme
Court Chief Justice Hilario Davide, Jr. alleging misuse of the Judicial
Development Funds.  In explaining the move, one of the complainants is reported
to have said: "This is a purely legal issue.  No one is above the law."  

Whether the Chief Justice has violated any law will soon be the issue before the
Senate acting as an impeachment court.  But what is known at this point is that
in impeaching the Chief Justice, the House of Representatives has itself
violated the supreme law of the land. Only a few days ago, the same House of
Representatives considered and rejected an impeachment initiative against the
Chief Justice on a completely different set of issues.  Yet Article XI, Section
3, of the Constitution is categorical:   "No impeachment proceedings shall be
initiated against the same official more than once within a period of one
year."  The use of the controlling word "initiated" clearly shows the second
complaint against the Chief Justice is unwarranted.

It is unconceivable how the House of Representatives could have failed to
consider this express constitutional limitation on its power to impeach
officials.  As lawmakers, members of Congress must be the first to uphold the
rule of law.  By disregarding our supreme law, they have shown contempt for the
very institution they seek to uphold and protect. 

Henedina Razon-Abad - Dean, Ateneo School of Government
Carlos P. Medina, Jr. -- Executive Director, Ateneo Human Rights Center
Cesar Villanueva -- Associate Dean, Ateneo Law School 
Sedfrey M. Candelaria -- Associate Dean, Ateneo Law School 
Amparita Sta. Maria -- Professor, Ateneo Law School
Melencio Sta. Maria -- Professor, Ateneo Law School
Myrfi S. Gonzalez -- Ateneo Human Rights Center
Marife Yap -- Leaders for Health Program, Ateneo Graduate School of Business

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