Philippine Commentaries

Read Malaya's daily commentaries on economic and political developments that shape Philippine society. Veteran Filipino journalist Joy C. de los Reyes is the paper's editor-in-chief of Malaya, an independent daily newspaper in the Philippines. To visit Malaya's website, just click the Malaya link below.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

On with the impeachment complaint

(This was published Monday, June 26, 2006)

The opposition will file today, the end of the one-year ban, a second impeachment against President Arroyo.

Opposition leaders hope public pressure on House members as the 2007 election approaches will succeed in collecting the 79 signatures needed to send the complaint directly to the Senate for trial. Gloria’s allies, on the other hand, are more determined than ever to junk the complaint. An administration victory is the more likely outcome. This should not, however, deter the opposition from pursuing the complaint. On the contrary, the opposition should pursue the case with renewed vigor, if only to further expose the bankruptcy of this administration.

The accusations against Gloria are culpable violation of the Constitution and betrayal of public trust.

The nation has not seen such a concerted attack on the Constitution – calibrated preemptive response, Executive Order 464, Proclamation 1017 and the unspoken policy of killing dissenters – since martial law. If Gloria is not stopped, the nation will wake up one day with democratic institutions in ruins and people’s freedoms and liberties just a memory.

It’s also time the stealing of the 2004 election and the use of taxpayers’ money to frustrate the people’s sovereign will be revisited. The "Hello Garci" tapes scandal has yet to find closure. The use of government funds, of which the fertilizer fund scam was just the proverbial tip of the iceberg, has been amply documented. These two acts alone are sufficient to impeach Gloria for betrayal of public trust.

Gloria’s allies are vociferous in maintaining that impeachment is a political act. They interpret this to mean that however damning the evidence against Gloria is, the primary consideration is their stay in power. Gloria goes, they also go. Ergo, they should junk the impeachment complaint as a matter of survival.

Fine with us. Gloria and her allies want to reduce impeachment, the constitutionally enshrined procedure for unseating a president, into a sheer exercise of power without regard to truth and justice, it’s their lookout.

That’s the reason we believe pursuing the complaint even with the certainty of its defeat by members of the party of thieves is a valuable exercise.

The ways to ousting a president is not limited to impeachment. The people should start looking at other options.

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