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Cabinet can oust President

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(BY: ATTY. BATAS MAURICIO) LIFE’S INSPIRATIONS: “… Deliver me from my enemies, O God; be my fortress against those who are attacking me. Deliver me from evildoers and save me from those who are after my blood…” (Psalm 59:1-2, the Holy Bible).

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ROXAS FORMING A NEW GOV’T WITH BINAY?On February 03, 2015, I received a series of text messages in my cellphone saying that Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas and 10 other members of President Aquino’s Cabinet are now forming an alliance with Vice President Jejomar Binay to oust Aquino and establish a new government.

I had no way of verifying the truth of those messages in a short time after receiving them but, my thoughts tried to divine the legality of that new government, if ever, as my mind raced through the 1987 Constitution, or the very Constitution which President Aquino’s mother, Cory, the first President Aquino, maneuvered to be adopted after the 1986 EDSA People Power Revolution.

I remember that there is a provision there, Section 11, Art. VII, which can be used to peacefully oust a president who has become ineffective in discharging his duties and responsibilities, without having to stage a coup or a people power revolution against him or without going through the process of impeachment. Under this section, it would appear that after the president is ousted, the vice president is mandated to form a new government.

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CABINET CAN DECLARE PRESIDENT UNFIT: To make this matter clearer, let me print the pertinent portions of Section 11, Art. VII. Here it is: “Whenever a majority of all the Members of the Cabinet transmit to the President of the Senate and to the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice-President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.”

This is a new Constitutional provision. It was not found in the 1935 and in the 1973 Constitutions. It was a provision that the Constitutional Commission of 1986 cooked up, evidently to prevent the rise of another president in the mold of then President Marcos, who would hold on to the presidency, even if his health had already deteriorated, or even if he was already ruling like a dictator, or if he was already unfit to continue being president.

There is no mistaking the intent of this provision: the sitting president, like President Benigno Aquino III, could be unseated and removed from the presidency, by the simple expedient of a majority of his Cabinet members (50% plus one) writing to the Senate President and the House Speaker that the President can no longer rule. The Vice President shall then take over.

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IF PRESIDENT CONTESTS HIS FITNESS, CONGRESS TO RESOLVE ROW: Was this what Secretary Roxas and the other Cabinet members who were reported to have formed an alliance with Vice President Binay thinking? The text messages I received further said the alliance will see Roxas being designated as executive secretary, replacing Paquito Ochoa Jr., while Senate President Franklin Drilon and House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. will remain in their positions.

It would appear that the Constitution mandates the outright ascendancy of the vice president to the presidency, once the majority of the Cabinet submit their letter to the Senate President and to the House Speaker. The question, of course, is, supposing President Aquino will contest the letter of his Cabinet officials saying he is still fit to continue being president?

In that event, the president can submit his own letter to debunk the claims against him, also to the Senate President and House Speaker, in which case he is authorized to resume being president again. However, those who declared him unfit can write another letter to those two legislative officials and contest the letter of the President. Congress is then empowered to decide the issue.
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PLEASE LISTEN: “Tambalang Batas at Somintac”, jointly aired at DZEC, 1062 kHz in Manila, 1080 kHz in Dagupan City, 711 kHz in Naga City, 1260 kHz in Lucena City, 1224 kHz in Davao City, and at www.eaglenews.phMondays to Fridays, at 6 a.m.; at 801 kHz on the AM band (Panay Island), Mondays to Fridays, and simulcast at 92.7 Smile FM, San Francisco, Agusan Del Sur and Kiss 101.1 FM, Cabadbaran City, Agusan del Norte.; and at 107.5 Win FM, Roxas, Isabela (Saturday, 5:30 a.m., and Sunday, 7 a.m.). -30-




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