Thursday, 26 January 2012 10:10
The “people” who is generally upheld as the ultimate source, possessor, and wielder of sovereignty, is actually represented by a small segment of our multi-cultural society popularly elected to constitute the supreme executive and legislative pillars of our political system. In actuality, it is not the entire population of the nation that exercises this periodic right of suffrage as mandated in our Constitution, more specifically our election laws, but only a minority called the electorate. The electorate exercises the political right to choose only the key officials of the executive and legislative branches of our government. The top officials of the judicial branches are appointed by the President as the highest Chief Executive of the nation. Unlike the top officials of the Executive and the Legislative branches, the magistrates of our country are not directly and popularly elected by the people. The term “people” is classified in many different categories. Legally, the term “people” is broadly classified into two, namely, “minor” and “major.” Politically, it is classified into “electorate” and “non-electorate.” As to stages of development, “people” include babies, children, youths, adults, and the aged. Judicially, “people” may include freemen, ex- convicts, prisoners, and all kinds of criminals. Mentally, some of the people are feeble-minded, autistic, and all kinds of individuals suffering from any form of psychological affliction. Simply stated, the mainspring of the political existence and sovereignty of our democratic state do not come from the element of “people” taken together as one solid body, but only from that segment of the population whose age range is between 18 and above and in legal parlance referred to as the “electorate.”
In truth and in fact, the electorate, which only represents a minority of the total population politically referred to as “people” is the only segment of our society that exercises the right of suffrage, and therefore, the only source of the political authority for choosing the top officials to head the legislative and executive branches of our government whose terms of office are fixed by law. The electorate however, creates only the theoretical executive and legislative sovereignties through the right of suffrage. On the other hand, the judicial sovereignty comes into theoretical existence not by the right of suffrage exercised by the electorate but just by the authority of the President of the Republic of the Philippines through a process of appointment prescribed by law. On their own, taken distinctly and separately from one another, these three constitutionally co-equal and independent branches do not have the inherent capacity to perform, sustain, and carry out their respected mandated functions. By themselves, they cannot operationally exist. These three co-equal and independent, branches of our political system need another segment of the element of “people” who will produce the fiscal resource- the taxpayers. (As the gas to an engine)
The most indispensable and essential portion of the “people” which generates or produces the fiscal resources for the existence and actual operation of the government are the taxpayers who I collectively call as the informal sovereignty higher than political, legislative, executive, and judicial sovereignties because it has the inherent and collective power to terminate or put to a stop the operation of the entire governmental machinery. The taxpayers are the fiscal producers and providers of the political system.
Clearly, in the matter of authority source, the executive and the legislative officials of the government are the only ones elected directly by the electorate represented legally by the qualified segment of the people virtually exercising or wielding as the supreme appointing authority. These three branches of our government should have a common source of authority, the electorate, if they are truly co-equal. Paradoxically, in the case of the key officials of the judicial branch, the Chief Justice and the other justices constituting the Supreme Court, are not elected by the people but only appointed by the President and confirmed by the Commission on Appointment of Congress. So while the members of Congress and the key officials of the Executive are elected directly by the electorate representing the people, the key officials of the judiciary are just appointed by the President, making them, in my opinion, virtually administrative officials not political officials. While the top executive and legislative officials are political officials by virtue of the fact that they were chosen or elected by the people through the exercise of the right of suffrage, the authority of appointing the top officials of the Supreme Court is unilaterally exercised by the Chief Executive making it institutionally and formally an administrative function of the President which may be attended and affected to a great deal by executive discretion and prerogative, an area of freedom in the entire process of executive decision that is highly susceptible to personal biases and preferences. While the electorate is the common fundamental source of authority for appointment of the top officials of the Legislative and Executive branches, in the case of the Judiciary, it has no direct participation or involvement in the appointment of the justices of the Supreme Court, making them largely non-political officials of the government.
It is in this context that I am raising the issue of impeachment purely as a political process explicitly defined by the 1987 Constitution. While the Constitution also specifically enumerates and identifies the impeachable officials to include the Chief Justice of the Supreme, it is not clearly stated or explained in our Fundamental Law the doctrinal foundation or rationalization why an administrative official should be subjected to a political process when the appointing authority does not emanate directly from the exercise of the right of suffrage as in the case the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. It is not also explicitly stated why the members of Congress who are purely political officials are not impeachable. Moreover, while the members of the Supreme Court are all impeachable, not a single member of Congress is. Why? Are the members of Congress not capable of committing impeachable offenses as defined by our Constitution? Was the Constitution premeditatedly and purposely crafted to favor and give superior powers to Congress over the Executive and the Judiciary making the doctrine of co-equality and independence among these three branches operationally a myth?
If the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial branches of our government are constitutionally co-equal and independent from one another, then the Impeachment Court must be entirely independent from these three co-equal political entities… and all their top officials must be impeachable. Why? The answer is obvious and self-explanatory. All of them are accountable to the taxpayers from whom the true, physical, and life-sustaining sovereignty emanates…not generally from the people or their elected representatives in Congress.
Conclusively, therefore, the ultimate power which inherently possesses the moral right to remove or impeach all top officials of government is lodged in the taxpayers as their de facto employers. In the public or private corporate enterprise, the power to hire and fire employees and officials is the exclusive right of the employer under the universally accepted principle in public administration: ”He who hires, fires.” And since, the real employers of all government officials and employees are the taxpayers, it is just logical that the power to terminate or impeach them must come from the taxpayers who are in the truest sense of the word, independent from the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of our government. In fact, to my simple mind, they are sui generis…and collectively the operational and life-sustaining sovereignty of the state. As I repeatedly stated many times over, ‘no taxpayers=no government.’
By Clem M. Bascar
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