I’ve been busy working as well as doing interviews and fielding calls from ANC, TV Patrol World, GMA7, Inquirer TV, MSNBC Asia, and ABC News Australia, so updates today have been spotty.
Yupki Girl blogs on Fidel V. Ramos and his solution to life, the universe, Philippine politics, and everything: a unicameral legislature, or parliament. Since we won’t be able to avoid discussions of unicameralism versus bicameralism, better start reading up on the subject. A good summary of the pros and cons is here.
But this is what we’re facing: even as the debate seesaws between a constituent assembly, which Ramos and Speaker de Venecia prefer, and a constitutional convention, which the President prefers (and I believe the President, now that she knows she will be in office for some time to come, will be applying the brakes on the Ramos plan in order to regain leverage over the government, and wean herself away from Ramos’s protective shadow), there’s a definite effort at impeachment, although some have reservations about how doable this would be.
One discussion is over whether or not the original impeachment complaint filed by Marcos loyalist Atty. Oliver Lozano, was a ploy by the President in order to torpedo an impeachment by filing a defective complaint. Rep. Ronaldo Zamora says any defect in the Lozano complaint can be rectified by amending the original complaint. Just now, Rep. Simeon Datumanong, chairman of the House committee on Justice, said on ANC that as long as the Lozano complaint is amended before either the House secretariat sends the complaint to the Speaker, or the Speaker transmits the complaint to the committee, then the opposition can amend the complaint as much as they want.
A reader of this blog, Atty. Edwin Lacierda, argues that a defective complaint isn’t something to fear. Taking off from my suggesting that Atty. Eduardo Nachura felt that the Lozano complaint was dangerous because of a precedent set during the impeachment attempt against the Chief Justice (that you can only file an impeachment once a year), he wrote,
Not necessarily so. Rep. Nachura’s opinion on the Davide impeachment case
before the Supreme Court hinged on the House Rules of Procedure on
Impeachment which the 12th Congress promulgated. The SC reviewed the
constitutional provision on impeachment vis-a-vis the House Rules on
Procedure. Those rules were not graven in stone. That means the House of
Representative can come up with a new set of procedures to govern
impeachment cases and perhaps provide a provision that would satisfy the
constitutional proscriptions on impeachment. The Davide decision did not
and does not prevent Congress from establishing new procedural rules.
If a case is filed anew before the SC questioning the validity of
impeachment complaints, the Supreme Court would, under the doctrine of
separation of powers, have to review and decide the case based on the new
rules of procedure that the House may enact.
I heard my friend Erin TaÃƒÂ±ada suggesting that they will file a supplemental
complaint. That may be a possible means of curing any defect on the Lozano
complaint since the House Rules are silent on the matter. I am quite
confident that like Rep. Nachura, the administration solons have studied the
Davide impeachment case and as a constitutional strategy, this majority
members of Congress will have to amend the rules of impeachment procedure to
come up with an authentic impeachment process and to assuage any unrest.
Otherwise, if this impeachment case turns out to be a moro-moro, neither FVR
nor the bishops can stop the onslaught of outrage and military intervention.
I still believe that impeachment though an arduous and contentious process
is worth the while. After all, to paraphrase Thomas Paine “That which we
obtain easily, we esteem lightly.” Let the Filipino people take the bitter
pill. It may perhaps be better for our political maturity in the long run.
Impeachment is a big gamble, and I’m still not convinced the President will really welcome it, which is why other avenues to distract public attention are being pursued. Still, whether impeachment or charter change in whatever form end up being the primary, or simultaneous, options of the President, I still see things headed in a more radical direction (more on that soon).
Still, for now, all eyes will be on Makati, where Mayor Jejomar Binay says a massive rally (fifty thousand! five hundred thousand! five million! five hundred five million billion!) will take place -“you can write that in stone,” he boasted to the cameras. We shall see. Certainly this afternoon and tonight’s rally seems better organized than the rent-a-rallies of the Estrada loyalists. We shall see. Sen. Panfilo Lacson supposedly told Senate reporters he’s now close to Susan Roces and they will both appear at tomorrow’s rally. But from what I have heard, it’s neither the United Opposition or Lacson who has Ms. Roces’s ear.
Update: according to someone who saw it on TV (I didn’t) delegations from the provinces were blocked by tanks.