Corona impeachment rap flawed–IBP
The impeachment complaint against Chief Justice Renato Corona “suffers from fatal constitutional infirmities” and defects in form and substance, according to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP).
The “breakneck” speed by which the impeachment complaint against Corona was approved violated the “constitutional guarantee of separation of powers and judicial independence,” the IBP board of governors told a press briefing Wednesday.
The IBP, an organization of lawyers from across the country, stressed that it was not defending the Chief Justice as the issue “goes beyond Corona, goes beyond the President (Benigno Aquino III).”
It will also not participate in any pleadings against the impeachment and “leave that to the litigants,” it said.
The IBP said the complaint was “discriminatory” against Corona and an act of “persecution,” as it was allowed to push through even as it threatens to disrupt constitutional balance.
Corona will now stand trial before the Senate as the House of Representatives elevated the impeachment complaint to the Senate last November 18.
The impeachment train in the House of Representatives began after President Aquino’s very public display of displeasure over the Corona-led Supreme Court, accusing it of promulgating decisions allegedly favorable to detained former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
The lawyers’ group questioned why the members of Congress had “singled out” Corona for impeachment when high court rulings are decided collegially.
“By impeaching the Chief Justice based on collegial decisions… the 188 Congressmen have in effect arrogated upon themselves the power to interpret the laws, which is a clear violation of separation of powers and judicial independence,” said the IBP in a statement read by its president Roan Libarios.
“Only one member of the Supreme Court, who happens to be the Chief Justice, is being singled out in the complaint despite the fact that he was not even a ponente in any of the decisions but merely concurred in the majority or minority opinion of the entire court,” Libarios said.
The group noted that lawmakers who agreed to impeach Corona “didn’t even see the complaint.”
It said the move against Corona was discriminatory, and “a clear and patent display of disregard for the rule of law.”
The IBP statement was announced to the public by a panel consisting of almost 20 members at its Ortigas headquarters Wednesday, issuing its stand after two days of deliberations and consultations with top law deans.
Even as its former president Vicente Millora has formally asked the Supreme Court to stop the impeachment proceedings, the IBP said it has collectively decided to keep its hands off the proceedings and instead stand guard on the sidelines.
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