Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Philippines going down the way of dictatorship again?

Impeachment juggernaut unleashed on Corona
By: Amando Doronila
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Congressional allies of President Aquino impeached Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona on Monday in an unprecedented record time of one day.

With stunning swiftness unparalleled in the history of impeachment in this country, 188 members of the House of Representatives voted to impeach Corona for interfering in the prosecution of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, comprising more than  one-third of the 285 House members, a requirement under the Constitution to impeach a high official.

The rushed impeachment broke several impeachment procedures and historical precedents. First of all, it made Corona the first Filipino chief justice to be impeached; the impeachment marked the first attack on the independence of the Supreme Court through the combined power of both the Executive and Legislative departments in a conspiracy that unleashed a juggernaut to crush the head of the high court as well as to make it subservient to the Chief Executive.

Too many breaches of normal democratic procedures involved in the relationship of checks and balances between the judicial and political branches (the Executive and Legislative) have occurred in the holy crusade claimed to make past officials accountable and to remove officials, notably the Chief Justice for allegedly blocking the administration’s anti-corruption efforts.

These breaches have raised legitimate concerns and questions over whether the impeachment of Corona has already pushed the country down the path  of a tyrannical rule by a populist regime disguised as part of the drive to exact accountability for past misdeeds.

Breaches of regular procedures and irregular short-cuts on due process  arising from the  strikes by the President on the Supreme Court and its leadership, which is accused  of protecting the interests of the previous president, have to be  highlighted to make the Filipino people  aware of the dangers they pose.

The most alarming of these breaches are:

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