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Political Dynasties in the Philippines: In My Opinion

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The country faces the third impeachment trial of a person in a high position. Chief Justice Renato Corona, the person sitting in the highest post in our court of last resort, faces an impeachment trial that started a couple of days ago.

(Click here for the list of "Who's Who in the Renato Corona Impeachment Trial")

For a brief recollection, CJ Corona is widely associated with the former administration. When the former President Arroyo assumed the presidency following the ouster of impeached President Joseph Estrada in January 2001, she named the Harvardian a Presidential Chief of Staff, Presidential Spokesman and later Acting Executive Secretary. Exactly two days after the 2010 General Elections, she appointed him Chief Justice. http://www.politikalon.blogspot.com


Considered by many as GMA's ‘midnight appointees’. Corona’s appointment to the high court sure raised eyebrows from the opposition. Even at the start of Pres. Noynoy Aquino's oath-taking ceremony, it seemed that they already were in a bitter note. Despite attending the ceremonies on June 2010, PNoy did not choose to traditionally swear on his presence but on SC Associate Justice  Carpio-Morales.

The relationship was tainted with more antagonism because of the SC decisions that seem not to favor with the Executive orders as released by the Executive. Senator Franklin Drilon called for Corona’s inhibition in cases that involved the former president citing that the Batangeño Chief Justice consistently voted in favor of former PGMA in all 19 cases brought before the Supreme Court.

The following are three major cases, noted by Drilon: 1) Concurred in the October 10, 2010 SC decision stopping the Aquino administration from revoking the appointment of alleged “midnight” appointees of Arroyo. 2) Concurred in the December 7, 2010 SC ruling declaring President Aquino’s order creating the Truth Commission unconstitutional. 3) Dissented in the October 25, 2006 SC decision dismissing the petition of the pro-Arroyo Sigaw ng Bayan to allow a “people’s initiative” to amend the 1987 Constitution due to failure to comply with Constitutional requirements of conducting a people’s initiative.
On the last item presented, it is but interesting to note that had the SC ruled to allow a “people’s initiative” to amend the 1987 Constitution. If it pushed through, PGMA would have succeeded in changing the form of government to a parliamentary system with her as Prime Minister and with an indefinite term for as long as she controls the majority members of the parliament.

Nevertheless, according to the Representatives  Romero Quimbo and Rep. Neil Tupas Jr. (both from the Liberal Party) the defining moment was on September 2010, where SC (led by Corona and the 8 other GMA appointees) came out with the decision that hampered the impeachment of Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez.

In a GMA News’ interview, Representative Quimbo confessed that CJ’s ouster was already on their plan; observing the latter’s move for more than 16 months before filing the impeachment complaint. Quimbo is quoted to have said that Corona is “not up to par” and isn't fit to serve.

The 1987 Constitution states that a member of the SC “may be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, culpable violation of the Constitution, treason, bribery, graft and corruption, other high crimes, or betrayal of public trust” [1]. According to Rep. Tupas, Corona is being accused of three impeachable offenses; graft and corruption, culpable violation of the Constitution, and betrayal of public trust – all these indicated in the 8m Articles of Impeachment.

For the “culpable violation of the Constitution”;
  • Respondent committed culpable violation of the Constitution and/or betrayed the public trust when he failed to disclose to the public his statement of assets, liabilities, and net worth as required under Sec. 17, Art. xi of the 1987 Constitution. (Article 2)
  • Respondent committed culpable violations of the Constitution and betrayed the public trust by failing to meet and observe the stringent standards under Art. VIII, Section 7 (3) of the Constitution that provides that “[a] member of the judiciary must be a person of proven competence, integrity, probity, and independence” in allowing the Supreme Court to act on mere letters filed by a counsel which caused the issuance of flip-flopping decisions in final and executory cases; in creating an excessive entanglement with Mrs. Arroyo through her appointment of his wife to office; and in discussing with litigants regarding cases pending before the Supreme Court. (Article 3)
  • Respondent committed culpable violations of the Constitution through wanton arbitrariness and partiality in consistently disregarding the principle of res judicata and in deciding in favor of gerry-mandering in the cases involving the 16 newly-created cities, and the promotion of Dinagat island into a province. (Article 5)

For “betrayal of public trust”, the representative-complainants found that;
  • Respondent betrayed the public trust and/or committed culpable violation of the Constitution when it blatantly disregarded the principle of separation of powers by issuing a “status quo ante” order against the House of Representatives in the case concerning the impeachment of then Ombudsman Merceditas Navarro-Gutierrez. (Article 4)
  • Respondent betrayed the public trust through his track record marked by partiality and subservience in cases involving the arroyo administration from the time of his appointment as Supreme Court justice and until his dubious appointment as a midnight chief justice to the present. (Article 1)
  • Respondent betrayed the public trust by arrogating unto himself, and to a committee he created, the authority and jurisdiction to improperly investigate a justice of the Supreme Court for the purpose of exculpating him. Such authority and jurisdiction is properly reposed by the Constitution in the house of representatives via impeachment. (Article 6)
  • Respondent betrayed the public trust through his partiality in granting a temporary restraining order (tro) in favor of former president gloria macapagal-arroyo and her husband jose miguel arroyo in order to give them an opportunity to escape prosecution and to frustrate the ends of justice, and in distorting the supreme court decision on the effectivity of the tro in view of a clear failure to comply with the conditions of the supreme court’s own TRO. (Article 7)
  • Respondent betrayed the public trust and/or committed graft and corruption when he failed and refused to account for the judiciary development fund (jdf) and special allowance for the judiciary (SAJ) collections. (Article 8)

Nonetheless, Pres. Aquino’s tactics are causing increasing uproar on some of the people in the opposition branding him a ‘dictator’. There were even rumors that the reason for the very expeditious impeachment complaint signed by 188 congressmen was due to a ‘pork barrel’ consideration. With Gutierrez’s ouster, running after the AFP funds scandal, CGMA’s incarceration, and now on Corona’s impeachment; people see that Pres. Aquino is on a “witch-hunting” spree.

To answer on these allegations, in an interview with radio dzBB, Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said, "Hindi namin binu-bully ang Supreme Court. The statements of the President are klarong-klaro. It refers to the lack of partiality and integrity on the part of Chief Justice Corona”.
 

Yet in a separate interview, Sen. Bongbong Marcos says: “I don’t know if you can call it dictatorship but when the judiciary is no longer considered an equal branch, then there is danger that the executive will have super authority which our system tries to avoid”. He adds, “Apparently, Aquino is trying to defeat that concept”. PNoy’s intensive systematic campaign directed against his dissenters reeks of a ‘political vendetta’ no matter how the Palace denies it. 

Here we have an administration that is firm on its stand as opposed to the stern Chief Justice that declared “only death will make me quit”. A ‘classic case of Midnight Appointee versus Midnight Impeachment’ [2] as Lawyer Jaime “Jun” Lopoz Jr. puts it. 

On this spectacular clash of the titans, no one knows yet what will happen next.
Can someone just pass me the popcorn?


References:
[1] 1987 Philippine Constitution (Article VIII: Judicial Department; Article XI, Accountability of Public Officers)
[2] Jaime Monforte Lopoz Jr.’s Facebook Wall Post

Picture Credits:
Supreme Court Picture by http://news.yahoo.com
The Senate has the sole power to try and decide all cases of impeachment. The Senate
President Senate presides in all other cases of impeachment.
Impeachment Trial: It's More Fun in the Philippines
(Picture courtesty of technogra.ph )
The members of the Senate, acting as an impeachment court, will try and decide the impeachment complaint against Corona. With Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile as the presiding officer, the current Upper House is composed of the following:
  •   Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada, Senate President Pro-Tempore
  •   Vicente C. Sotto III, Majority Leader
  •   Alan Peter Compañero S. Cayetano, Minority Leader
  •   Edgardo J. Angara
  •   Joker P. Arroyo
  •   Pia S. Cayetano
  •   Miriam Defensor Santiago
  •   Franklin M. Drilon
  •   Francis G. Escudero
  •   Teofisto Guingona III
  •   Gregorio B. Honasan II
  •   Panfilo M. Lacson
  •   Manuel M. Lapid
  •   Loren B. Legarda
  •   Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr.
  •   Sergio R. Osmeña III
  •   Francisco Pangilinan
  •   Aquilino Martin de la Llana Pimentel III
  •   Ramon Revilla Jr.
  •   Antonio Trillanes
  •   Ralph Recto
  •   Manuel Villar
The Prosecution Panel
Being the sole prosecutor at the trial in the Senate, the House of Representatives has formed an 11-member panel led by Iloilo Rep. Niel C. Tupas Jr., Chairperson of the Committee on Justice. The other members:
  •  Pangasinan Rep. Marlyn Primicias-Aggabas, Chairperson, Committee on Revision of Laws.
  •  Ilocos Norte Rep. Rodolfo Farinas, Deputy Majority Leader; Vice Chairperson, Committee on Justice
  •  Cavite Rep. Elpidio Barzaga Jr., Chairperson, Committee on Suffrage and Electoral Reforms
  •  Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Neri Colmenares, Vice Chairperson, Committee on Suffrage and
  • Electoral Reforms
  •  Akbayan party-list Rep. Arlene “Kaka” Bag-ao, Vice Chairperson, Committee on Agrarian Reform
  •  Northern Samar Rep. Raul Daza, Deputy Speaker
  •  Cavite Rep. Joseph Emilio Abaya, Chairperson, Committee on Appropriations
  •  Oriental Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo Umali, Vice Chairperson, Committees on Justice, Way and Means, and Good Government and Public Accountability
  •  Isabela Rep. Giorgidi Aggabao, Vice Chairperson, Committees on Ways and Means, Public Works and Highways, and Legislative Franchises
  •  CIBAC Party-list Rep. Sherwin Tugna, Assistant Majority Leader
Private prosecution counsels are allowed but will be under the supervision of the House Panel of Prosecutors. Atty. Mario Bautista, managing partner of Poblador Bautista & Reyes law firm who was also one of the prosecutors in the Estrada impeachment trial, is the lead private prosecutor.

The 11 congressmen have been assigned the following Articles of Impeachment:
The Defense Panel

Retired Supreme Court Justice and former Justice Secretary Serafin Cuevas is Corona’s lead counsel. The15-member defense team also includes:

  • Former Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila Dean Jose M. Roy III
  • Former Justice Undersecretary Ramon S. Esguerra
  • Former Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Pasay Dean Tranquil S. Salvador III
  • Prof. Jacinto D. Jimenez
  • Atty. German Q. Lichauco II
  • Atty. Dennis P. Manalo
  • Atty.  Karen Jimeno
Lawyer Ernesto Francisco Jr. and former Court of Appeals Justice Hector Hofilena earlier resigned as the Chief Justice’s counsels.

Picture Credit:
It's More Fun in the Philippine Senate Image from http://technogra.ph/2012/01/18/pacquiao-gets-the-magic-treatment-and-our-wacky-senate/.

It is but a common knowledge that Facebook is a modern-day "social gamechanger" in the cyberspace.

Aside from Facebook's chatting feature that is non-existent in the then-famous Friendster, one can post his or her thoughts on the "Facebook Wall". Being a Facebook member since 2007, I've posted hundreds of Wall Posts that is seen by my Facebook friends.

I've made it a point not to post personal stuffs (like what I ate, what are my whereabouts, and what-nots) and decided to post mind-tickling jokes, notions, doubts, opinions, satirical statements, beliefs, assertions, assumptions, mockeries, sarcasm, silliness, and other forms of bluster.

Majority of my posts were written in Filipino (the national language of the Philippines) on the hopes of better intelligibility among the majority of my Filipino-speaking Facebook friends.

For the benefit of my blog readers who don't have the luxury of checking out my Facebook posts, I've compiled my monthly posts, these were my posts for the month of November last year. I hope that you'll enjoy the hodge-podge of these ideas and I urge you to share your comment about the posts since one can't click "Like" here.

February 24

Maybe the reason why most people don't follow God is because he doesn't have a Twitter. - JR Lopez Gonzales

February 28

Isang kwentong katatawanan: Bobo ang aktibista na noong inutusang mag-rally laban kay GMA, ay nag-ipon-ipon at nagwelga sa harap ng GMA Network.

Ang droplet ay pwedeng pumatak, nguni't hindi pwedeng "lumubog" sa dagat.

Kung iisipin talaga natin, walang isang babae na matatawag ng lahat ng tao na "pinakamagandang babae sa buong mundo".

February 27

Nahulaan din kaya ng manghuhula na siya ay magiging isang manghuhula balang araw?


Kung ang tawag ng pari sa madre ay sister? Bakit ang tawag ng madre sa pari ay "father"? 'Di kaya dapat "brother"? At kung tito mo naman ang pari, ano ang tawag mo sa kanya? Father o Uncle?

February 19

PINOY PRIDE: 'Yan lang ba ang meron sa Pinoy?...Pride?

Sa aling key ang 'vocal chord' mo?

Februrary 10

Isang kwento mula sa tahanan namin.
Sabi ni Mama: "JR, kanina ka pa diyan sa harapan ng hapag, 'di mo pa rin kinakain ang ulam. Kung ahas yan, kanina ka pa tinuklaw".
JR: "Hindi ah. Kasi ang mga ahas, 'di naman manunuklaw agad, 'pag natapakan lang o nasaktan, d'yan lang sila manunuklaw".
Mama: Sumbong kita ke Papa mo.
[kinain ko na agad ang ulam.]

Minamahal mo ang tao dahil sa iyong utak. 'Di dahil sa iyong puso. Kasi ang puso ay nagpapatakbo lamang ng dugo para makacirculate sa katawan.
 
Kung sino man ang nagsabi sa paghahanap sa isang tao sa isang silid ng: "May tao po ba? Ay, wala palang tao." Siya ay nagkamali. Kasi may tao pa rin. Siya.

Ang taong "average" lamang ay pinakamagaling sa mga mahihina at pinakamahina sa grupo ng mga magagaling.

Record-breaking daw yung Takbo para sa Pasig noon nakaraan taon. Mahigit 100,000 tao daw ang nakilahok. Sa dami nilang yun, kung sana naglinis silang lahat eh di, malinis na ang Pasig ngayon...

Malamang ang silbi ng panaginip ay para mayroon tayong maikumpara sa katotohanan.

Hindi na raw magpapamigay ng condoms ang DOH this Valentine's Day. Siguro kasi hindi nagustuhan ng mga tao kasi hindi ultra thin.

Nung nagpalitrato kami sa beach, ang sabi ng photographer, "Oh, jumpshot naman!". Sabi ko, "Ok. Ako yung may hawak ng bola, kayo kunwari nakabantay sa jumpshot ko".


February 9

May silbi pa nga ba talaga ang mga posthumous awards? Ang mga parangal na binibigay sa mga taong patay na.?

February 8

Kung si Elvis ang The King. Si Freddie Mercury ang The Queen. :-)

Hindi na pwedeng tumambay si Angelo Reyes sa LIVING room.

February 4

Kaya siguro kaunti lang ang mga nahuhuling kriminal kasi Most WANTed sila. Mas epektibo siguro kapag MOST NEEDed.

July 31

Bakit nga ba nam-iimbita pa tayo na KUMAIN sa mga tao habang kumakain tayo kahit na alam naman nating kaunti lang at para lamang sa isang tao ang kinakain natin?

July 30

Marami ang nasadlak sa piitan ng kahirapan habang ang mga mayayaman ay nakulong ng sarili nilang salapi.

July 29

Naniniwala akong may silbi kung bakit mas mabilis magproseso ang UTAK kumpara sa BUNGANGA. 'Yan ay sa kadahilanang kailangang MAG-ISIP MUNA bago MAGSALITA. Lubha ngang matalino ang personang dumisenyo ng sistemang ito. Kung kaya't maging mapagmatyag sa kung anuman ang salitang bibitiwan ng bibig dahil ang mga pilantik ng dila at huning nagagawa ng ating mga labi ay kailanman 'di na mababawi pa.

July 28

A comparison of Bisaya and Tagalog DICTIONS on the word, "noodles":
Bisaya: Ayo... Papalita ko ug "nuduls".

Tagalog: Tao po... Pabili po ng "nuDELS".

Wala'y problema kung Bisaya, basta sakto ra ang diction.

Ang isang napakagandang ideya na nagmula sa isang brilyanteng utak ay nagiging WALANG KWENTA sa pandinig ng mga mangmang.

Natanggal na ang Philippine AZKALS sa FIFA Qualifiers. In short, sila ay "na-PUTBOL".

Ano ang sabi ng nangto-torture sa taong kanyang sinasaktan? ARAY MO, GALING KO!

Kumakain kaya ng BERDENG gulay ang isang Atenista?

Pangalawang hirit sa pagka-oldies (courtesy of Princess Mae Chua): Ano ang nilalaro n'yong childhood games dati? a) Chinese Garter b) Patintero c) Tumbang Preso d) Simpleng Habulan e) Jackstone f) Thumb-wrestling g) Suntukan (LOL) h) Sabunutan (for girls) i) Luksong Tinik j) Taguan

Ano ang natural na hugis at anyo ng tubig?

Sa mga kababata / kaedad / at kapanahon ko lamang ang tanong na ito. Alin ang pinakapaborito mo na chicheria? a) Sinbad b) Tomi c) Buchoy d) Pipo e) Bobot OR f) I Won! I Won! ?

Ano kaya ang uri ng ligaya ang nakukuha ng mga batang pinapalaro ng mga magulang ng baril-barilan? Pangalawang tanong: Anong values ang nai-instill natin sa mga bata sa uri ng laro na ito?

Noon, Hindi lahat ng babae ay maganda. Ngayon? Hindi lahat ng maganda ay BABAE.

Ang paggasta ng pera ay nakadepende sa kanyang kinikita o natatanggap. Kapag kaunti lang ang pera, napagkakasya ito. Kapag may kalakihan naman ang kita, lalaki rin ang gastos at dadami ang mga kailangan at kagustuhan.

May mga taong kumakain para sa sobrang sarap ng lasa, ang iba naman ay kumakain para mabusog, ang iba naman ay para magkalaman ang tiyan, at ang iba, para lamang mabuhay pa ng isa pang araw.

Mayron kayang banyaga na katulong sa isang Pilipinong pamamahay?

July 26

Masasabi ko lang na maunlad na nga tayong mga Pinoy kung WALA NANG MGA TINITINDA NG TINGI-TINGI. -JLG

Mag-ingat sa mga taong mapagmayabang sa kanilang kakayahan. Nguni't mas lalong mag-ingat sa mga taong lubhang mas malaki pa ang yabang kumpara sa kanilang tunay na kakayanan.

Ang pag-ibig ay isa ngang kahibangan. Kailanman ang taong umiibig ay nawawala sa kanyang wastong pag-iisip. Ang rasyonalidad at lohika ay naiisantabi; nabubulag ang nagmamahal sa mga bagay sa paligid dahil ang importante ay ang bukal na damdamin tungo sa kanyang iniirog.

July 25

Lagi na lang nagra-rally ang mga aktibista laban sa Pangulo. Pero ang mga pangulo 'di naman nagra-rally laban sa mga aktibista.

All in a day's work: In one of my Political Science class, I've posted a question, "Is the Philippines a 'state' or a 'nation' ?". One confidently answered, "Both... Because there's a STATE of the NATION address"...

Bakit malamig ang HOT Fudge Sundae ng McDo?

Bakit marami sa atin ang bumili ng isang gamit dahil sa brand lamang imbis na dapat ay sa kalidad ng produkto?

Tagal na nating umiinom ng Milo with "Olympic Energy" pero kailanman 'di pa tayo nakapagkamit ng Olympic Gold Medal.

Bagong idea ko for a new reality show: Biggest Gainer. Sino'ng sasali? Mga anorexic!

Minsan sa pagtanda, kakalungkot isipin na andami na'ng mas bata sa 'yo.

Sarap na sarap si Coco Martin sa kape kaya siguro naapektuhan ang diction: "YAHMMY"!

Ba't kaya? Kapag panalo ang Azkals daming balita. Nang natalo laban sa Kuwait tahimik ata ang media...

July 24

The Philippine Azkals is battling against Kuwait. Talk about what 'Azkals' really mean: underDOGS.

July 23

Want to have a "greener" Earth? Easy. Remove humans.


Picture Credit:
The year’s a breeze and a lot has transpired for me for the whole year 2011.

On April 29 to May 1, I joined the Toastmasters International 30th Pearl District Convention of District 75 (Philippines). I had the opportunity of listening to top caliber speakers Francis J. Kong and BBC Correspondent Rico Hizon in the Manila Ocean Park at Luneta.

On October 7, I flew again to Manila to join the ABS-CBN News Channel Debate against De La Salle – Far Eastern University team. Eventhough we failed to snatch the win, the experience was very worthwhile for the first-timer Mindanao State University Team.

I flew to Iloilo to visit some relatives on the last days for the month of October. I had the pleasure of joining the Mid-year Convention of the Toastmasters International at La Carmela de Boracay for a couple of days.

My shoutouts to a fellow in the City College of Calapan in Mindoro for choosing me and my blog as one of the respondents for an academic paper on blogging and internet presence. Keep it up!

November was when I went to UST for the 'peaceful' Bar Operations. It was a great experience for aspiring lawyers like me.

But the greatest event for this year was when Typhoon Sendong hit my city of Iligan making me a victim and an evacuee at the same time. Thousands of Filipinos lost their lives and things to the flashflood. But I thank the good samaritans Ma’am Lorigen Paterno and Hazel Jovita for showing me their concern when my room was engulfed by the flashflood by lending me their private spaces for me to stay in for that time being. My big thanks also to Ma'am Emile Aca-ac and Pam Resurreccion for handing me their hard-earned money immediately after I lost all of my things due to the flood. Salamat po sa inyo.



A day before leaving Iligan for my hometown last December 21, I was able to have a chit-chat with former Senator Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri, telling him that I blog on politics. His calling card was the souvenir he gave me. It was four days since that fateful day of Typhoon Sendong's thrashing. I also was able to spend my precious hours to menial support in the evacuation centers, MSU-IIT and Ubaldo D. Laya School.

I thank all of my readers of my blog with now a few views short of 30,000. Salamat po sa lahat. This year definitely is part of my list of most unforgettable chapters of my life. My prayers would always go to Iligan City and other places victimized by the flood. The year 2011 may have been over but the promise of hope for a good and harmonious life for all of us still prevails.