July 23, 2005 · Posted in: In the News

Fortifying the House

IF Speaker Jose de Venecia can’t defeat impeachment moves against President Arroyo in the House of Representative, then the Palace will have to send in reinforcement. And the reinforcement could come in the form of new congressmen and congresswomen from party-list groups that are certified pro-Arroyo.

There has been talk going around that the Commission on Election will be proclaiming this coming week three new members of Congress from among the party-list groups still waiting for the final party list canvass. They will reportedly be brought in for a purpose and that is to raise the total number of House members from 236 to 239, so that opposition members will need 80 and not 79 signatories to endorse the impeachment complaint. Although it does not seem much, one vote short in an impeachment complaint spells the end of it.

The names and party-list groups being mentioned, however, are not exactly those who are due for proclamation. Those who are waiting in line, meantime, will have to wait longer. Based on the number of votes won, there are four party-list groups whose nominees should have been proclaimed way back June: Citizens’ Battle against Corruption (CIBAC), Partido Manggagawa, Gabriela and Luzon Farmers’ Party (BUTIL). But given the anti-Arroyo positions that some of these groups have taken, they might just have to prepare for a longer wait.

Meanwhile, the House leadership is said to be busy helping draft the President’s State of the Nation Address on Monday. According to one party-list representative, de Venecia has been going around asking members: "What would you like the President to include in her SONA?" That being the case, expect President Arroyo’s SONA to be a mishmash of issues and advocacies close to the hearts of those who have the power to make her reign or fall.

6 Responses to Fortifying the House

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koyobayashi

July 24th, 2005 at 12:37 am

as the article says… it is [as of now] talks. wouldn’t it be better and more credible to all if they would instead put effort in their defense? how easy do they [PGMA] forget how they got their power in the first place? anything short of a transparent and convincingly fair proceeding will surely hurdle the country (once again) in oblivion.

in times like these, we don’t need patriots… FILIPINOS would do!!!

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watcher

July 24th, 2005 at 7:59 am

Desperation moves. Preventing the inevitable. I am not an FVR fan, but if GMA has a half a brain, she would do well to take it.

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koyobayashi

July 24th, 2005 at 10:27 am

i think thats prolonging the inevitable…

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fandong

July 24th, 2005 at 6:53 pm

di pa ba sil;a nadala? hangang ngayon daya pa rin sila. ano ba ito? hangang kailan mananatili tio? wala na bang pag asa ang mga pulitico natin? pero di bali, the time is near when no one will mind this ass licking politicians. Kahit ano ang gawing ni gma, wala na naman credibility ang lidership niya. Hinde na dapat pansinin.

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eyesWIDEopen

July 24th, 2005 at 9:36 pm

:)

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brulyo

July 25th, 2005 at 8:17 pm

Alternative scenario
First posted 01:43am (Mla time) July 25, 2005
By Avelino Sebastian Jr.
Inquirer News Service

IF President Macapagal-Arroyo’s disqualification is eventually declared by the
Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), should the Vice President succeed?

In Section 8, Article VII of the Constitution, the vice president is entitled
to succession in four instances: when the president dies, suffers permanent
disability, resigns, or is removed from office. Ms Arroyo has made it clear
that she will not resign. But, she can be removed. Ms Arroyo’s removal from
office can be achieved legally in one of two ways: by impeachment, or by the
declaration of her disqualification in an election protest. Section 2, Article
IX of the Constitution expressly declares that the president may only be
removed from office by impeachment. Accordingly, the constitutional succession
of the vice president following the removal of the president presupposes that
the removal of the president is by virtue of impeachment. Constitutional
succession will not take place if Ms Arroyo’s disqualification under Section 68
of the Omnibus Election Code is declared by the PET.

The standing to file and maintain an election protest is limited to the
candidates who obtained the second and third highest number of votes.
Unfortunately, FPJ passed away on Dec. 14, 2004 and the PET has ruled with
finality that his widow cannot take his place as petitioner.

This leaves Sen. Panfilo Lacson as the sole surviving potential protestant.
Lacson has a very limited period of time within which to file an electoral
protest. Under the PET rules, the petition should have been filed within 30
days from Ms Arroyo’s proclamation. However, Lacson may reasonably argue that
the evidence of Ms Arroyo’s disqualification (that is, the “Hello Garci” tape)
became available only on June 27, 2005 when she delivered her famous “I’m
sorry” address to the nation, wherein she admitted to having spoken to a
Comelec official during the 2004 presidential elections. In a number of
previous occasions, the Supreme Court entertained election protests that were
filed way after the statutory deadline. The Court took cognizance of the
protests, saying that the higher interest of the State and public good should
take precedence over procedural infirmities. Accordingly, Lacson has 30 days
from June 27, 2005 (the date Ms Arroyo openly admitted her “lapse in judgment”)
within which to file the electoral protest.

Clearly, the success or failure of Lacson’s electoral protest would depend
heavily on the admissibility of the “Hello Garci” tape as evidence. Allies of
Ms Arroyo are quick to point out that the tape, being the fruit of a poisoned
tree, is inadmissible as evidence. Several arguments, however, can be raised to
refute this proposition.

First, Ms Arroyo has been nebulous in her famous “I’m sorry” address. She
neither confirmed nor denied that the female voice on the “Hello Garci” tape
was hers. Unless she makes a categorical admission, it is not likely that she
would be in a legal position to suppress the presentation of the tape as
evidence, because the constitutional protection of the privacy of conversation
is personal.

Second, by not making a timely admission or denial of the identity of the
female voice in the tape, Ms Arroyo may be held in estoppel. Despite the public
outrage and economic adversities that resulted from the revelation of the tape,
Ms Arroyo opted to remain silent. The circumstances clearly demanded that she
make a categorical admission or denial of her involvement in the taped
conversations. She did not. She had every opportunity to invoke her
constitutional right to privacy. She did not. The law does not extend
protection to those who sleep on their rights. The law presumes, on the
contrary, that one who deliberately fails to invoke a right when the
circumstances clearly demand such invocation, has no right to invoke it in the
first place.

Third, Ms Arroyo may be deemed to have waived her right to the privacy of
communication. The House of Representatives played the tape as part of the
evidence in the congressional investigation on the “Hello Garci” tapes. She did
not even try to suppress the move by invoking the right to privacy. On the
contrary, Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye even presented the tape to the media on
June 6, 2005. By all indications, Ms Arroyo’s actions clearly demonstrate a
waiver of the right to privacy of communication.

Fourth, the constitutional guarantee of privacy of communication is not
absolute. The right succumbs to the exigencies of the highest public interest.
Given that the tapes could shed light to the issue relating to electoral fraud,
Ms Arroyo’s right to privacy must yield to the higher national interest.

Fifth, there is serious doubt if the Anti-Wire Tapping Law is applicable to the
interception of mobile phone conversations. As presently worded, the law makes
specific reference to the tapping of wires and cables. A mobile phone is
wireless, and the transmission is made through radio waves. The United States
Congress, in fact, amended its own law on the matter, after arriving at the
conclusion that the original law did not extend protection to wireless
conversations.

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