My former profs’ take that Articles of Impeachment is flawed is flawed
By BERTENI “TOTO” CATALUÑA CAUSING
Editor-in-Chief, Dyaryo Magdalo
I am amused that two of the defense attorneys of Chief Justice Renato Corona were my professors, ATTY. JOSE ROY III AND ATTY. JACINTO “JACK” JIMENEZ – two of the professors I revered during my days at the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila College of Law.
IT IS PUERILE for my former professors to insist that the Articles of Impeachment is constitutionally infirm and defective for failure to comply with the requirement of verification, pertaining to the alleged requirement that all signatories (188 congressmen) read the contents of the impeachment complaint.
That argument is just like a motion to dismiss incorporated in the Answer of CJ Corona to the Impeachment Case.
The reasoning is flawed.
THIS STRICT RULE ON VERIFICATION AFFIDAVIT applies ONLY TO COURTS and not to co-equal bodies that have their own SOLO POWER to decide what procedure to follow in their respective domains.
That is because the rule on verification was promulgated by the Supreme Court alone as part of its exclusive power to decide what procedures should be followed in courts—ONLY IN COURTS—and suppletorily in all quasi-judicial bodies that are not independent bodies.
In the case of the Rules of Impeachment procedures, the Court has no power to decide what should be followed. It is outside its province.
The Constitution places exclusively in the hands of the House of Representatives the EXCLUSIVE POWER to decide what processes or procedures it wants to employ in implementing the Constitutional provisions on how to impeach and how to draft or write the pleading and whether they would need verification.
This act of writing the Articles of Impeachment and of requiring or not such verification affidavit is within the exclusive province of the House of Representatives.
The Senate, being the Impeachment Court exclusively vested by the Constitution of the power to run the trial and decide the issues therein, is mandated by the Constitution only to accept the Articles of Impeachment submitted by the House of Representatives, even in whatever form or substance.
The Senate cannot question the House as it is the Lower Chamber’s matter of exclusive right and power that belongs to it alone.
The House of Representatives being an independent body, the Senate CANNOT DICTATE on the House on WHAT SHOULD BE THE FORM AND SUBSTANCE OF THE ARTICLES OF IMPEACHMENT.
Thus, the authority of the Senate is LIMITED.
The Senate’s authority is limited only to control the process of the trial, how it is to be run, how the witnesses shall be presented, how summons are served, and how shall the jurors vote and execute or implement that vote, etc.
To stress: THE SENATE HAS NO AUTHORITY TO REJECT the Articles of Impeachment submitted to its co-equal body that is the House of Representatives.
Such that it is very clear that the only thing the Senate can do is to accept in whatever form the Articles of Impeachment as may be deemed by the House.
NOW, the clincher.
When we read the Rules of Procedure on Impeachment Trials of the Senate of the Philippines and of the United States of America, it does not state about verifications. (Please educate me if there is one.)
When there is no positive law or rules creating such right or obligation on verification affidavit, it cannot be demanded.
There being none, the affirmative defense of “constitutionally-infirm verification” incorporated in the Answer filed by my former professors must be denied for utter lack of substance.
Moreover, the independent act of the House of Representatives must be respected by the Senate.
Advice to my former professors: PLEASE ASK CJ CORONA TO DEMONSTRATE TRUTH BEFORE THE IMPEACHMENT COURT AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.
I do believe he has a very good chance at acquittal when this exercise must follow what the evidence should dictate and what not politics would whisper.