This early, our country is undoubtedly in election mode already. People are into all the preparations for the May 13, 2013 elections. And with elections, like war, everything is fair game.
A consequence of this shift would be to sideline the on-going impeachment trial of the Chief Justice. It’s not about him anymore despite his having been demonized no end by the administration and further publicly condemned by no less than President Aquino himself. Verily, the impeachment has become a political reality show for senators who would be running for re-election: Alan Peter Cayetano, Francis Escudero, Gregorio Honasan, Loren Legarda, Antonio Trillanes 4th, and Aquilino Pimentel III.
Add to them “graduating” senators Kiko Pangilinan and Panfilo Lacson who have long been eyeing cabinet posts once they finish their terms. Sen. Kiko belongs to the Liberal Party of President Aquino, and is known to ingratiate himself to whoever is in power by his “Noted” record in the 2004 canvassing for then President Macapagal-Arroyo. And Sen. Lacson has indicated that he would be willing to serve in the Aquino administration if offered a post, much like inviting himself.
And as backdrop for the “politicality” of the impeachment is the popularity of Aquino in the surveys compared to the lower ratings of Corona. Of course, when you are relentlessly attacked in the media for amassing possible ill-gotten wealth as “evidenced” by 45 titles, you’d surely get low points in surveys given the sensitivity of the issue of corruption. But that sinister strategy has been unmasked, and the prosecution ended up showing only 21 properties, which matter appears to have been justified by Corona’s defense.
Much noise has been made on the impeachment as a “political” proceeding. But the only thing that makes impeachment “political” is that the power to initiate it and the power to try and decide impeachment cases were lodged by the Constitution in one of the two “political” branches of government—the legislative.
It bears emphasis that what cannot be disregarded given its primordial importance that overrides the “politicality” of impeachment is the solemn duty imposed by the Constitution for the conduct of a trial and not an inquisition. Simply put, the exercise of the impeachment power must be done in a judicial manner, that is, with due process and equal protection as enshrined in the Bill of Rights.
Sadly, Congress brazenly railroaded the impeachment articles in the obvious attempt of forcing Corona into submission just as then Ombudsman Gutierrez crumbled into sheepishly resigning before trial. Add to that the shameless violations of our banking laws.
Worse, Aquino has been silent on the illegal acts of Congressmen at that despite his constitutional duty to ensure that the laws be faithfully executed. So much for Tuwid na Daan.
True, impeachment is about public accountability. But, as my father put it before as NBI Director during Cory Aquino’s time—
“Nothing breeds lawlessness more than the lawless enforcement of the law.”