Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Does IBP speak with one voice?

I am surprised that today the IBP presented 2 full page ads presenting its position. Actually the first is the current official organization, through its Board of Governors, and the second is a group of former IBP National Presidents. Lets first present the first group position which can be read in a fullpage advertisement in the December 28, Phil Daily Inquirer A6.

The Integrated Bar of the Philippines claimed that

1. the complainants (majority of the members of the Lower House of Representatives),signed the 57 -page complaint without reading and appreciating its ocntents and supporting documents, thereby violating the Constitution itself.
2. In instantly signing and elevating the complaint for Senate trial withou reading its contents and subjecting it to any discussion, the complainants violated due process and their own dutiy to make a determination of its sufficieny in form and substance and the existence of probable cause.
The IBP claimed that preliminary determination cannot be satisfied without actual reading and appreciation, if not discussion, of the complaint and supporting documents.
3. The impeachment complaint also failed to comply with the prescribed process in verifying its due execution. The complaint does not bear the certificate of acknowledgment by the House Sec-Gen as proof of his faithful compliance with the verification process.

The IBP claims that there are far more telling and serious defects in the substance of the impeachment complaint.
  1. The grounds invoked in the impeachment complaint subvert the constitutional guarantees of separation of powers and judicial independence, the first principles of the Rule of Law.
  2. The impeachment complaint also trifles with and violates the constitutional guarantee of protection of the law and due process, the first principles in our Bill of Rights.
In summary, for the guidance of the public , the IBP, through its Board of Governors, stands firm on its position that the impeachment omplaint run afoul witht eh Constitution in form and substance. The second group, still allied with the IBP, presented a manifesto, which they published in the Phil. Daily Inquirer, in page B2 of the same newspaper issue of December 28, 2011. In this manifesto, a group former IBP national presidents expressed their collective sense that the forthcoming impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona will be healthy for democracy! Here are some points from the manifesto:
  1. Not one in public service is a sacred cow.
  2. 2. We should recognize the primacy of the rule of law and respect the doctrine of separation of powers. This does not mean nor require that the Chief Justice be immune from criticism or impeachment.
  3. As Chief Justice, C Corona should be the first to strengthen te Supreme Court as an institution. The CJ abandons judicial statesmanship and independence when by official actions, he shows marked subservience to the person who appointed him Chief Justice. The SC will be a credible court of last resot only if it is a court of moral force.
  4. The President, as leader and father of the nation may and should speak in the strongest terms possible whenever the decisions of the Court of the actual official actuations of the Chief Justice no longer serve the best interest of the nation. After all, the welfare of the people is the highest law.
    Neither the House of Representatives be faulted. By impeaching Chief Justice Corona, it exercised its constitutional prerogative to initiate impeachment and and place the country on notice that the elected representative of the people are holding the Chief Justice accountable for his actions as specified in the Articles of Impeachment even as the poer to determine guild or innocence devloves upont the Senate.

The manifesto ends with the hope that

Let us come out of this experience as a stronger and better nation.

The manifesto was signed by the previous five national presidents of the IBP:

Raoul R. Agangco (1995-1997), Jose Aguil Grapilon (1997-1999), Arthur D. Lim (1999-2001), Teofilo Pilando (2001-2003), and Jose Anselmo I. Cadiz (2003-2006). The name of the current IBP national president Roan I. Libarios does not appear in the manifesto.

Based on my readings of these seemingly contradictory positions under the auspices of the IBP, the first advertisement delved too much on technicalities, which the Supreme Court in their rulings can either cite or ignore! . We are partial to the contents of the manifesto of former national presidents of the IBP.

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