Wednesday, 15 February 2012 00:00
LIFE’S INSPIRATIONS: “…For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life…” (John 3:16, the Holy Bible).
WHY MIRIAM VOTED TO OBEY SC: In view of its tendency to resolve many contentious issues in the on-going impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona, I will yield, once more, this column to Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago’s explanation, why she voted to obey the Supreme Court temporary restraining order (TRO) relative to the dollar deposits of Corona. Portions of her explanation:
“My Vote: I vote to obey the Supreme Court TRO on the foreign currency deposits of the Chief Justice, on the following six grounds, based on the ideology that the impeachment court is not almighty, not absolute, not illimitable, and not more supreme than the Supreme Court.
“First ground: last clear chance doctrine: Obedience to the TRO preserves governmental stability, while disobedience precipitates a constitutional crisis. If we have a choice between stability and crisis, the wiser choice is always national stability… In the present impeachment case, it is the Senate which has the last clear chance to avoid a crisis, by obeying the TRO.
SC HAS POWER OF REVIEW EVEN OVER “POLITICAL QUESTIONS”: “Second ground: judicial power includes both justiciable questions and political questions: Under the Constitution, judicial power is vested in the Supreme Court. This judicial power has two components:
“1. Justiciable questions, which the Court defines as `actual controversies involving rights which are legally demandable and enforceable’, and 2. Political questions, which the Constitution defines as `grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction.’
“Thus, the `political question doctrine’ no longer applies under the 1987 Constitution. Under this discarded doctrine, a court should refuse to decide an issue involving the exercise of discretionary power by the executive or legislative branch of government. Assuming that the power to issue subpoena concerning foreign currency deposits is discretionary with the impeachment court, still the Supreme Court has power over this political question.
IMPEACHMENT COURT NOT FREE OF CHECKS FROM SC: “Third ground: This impeachment court is not authorized to violate the law: The `law on secrecy of foreign currency deposits describes this secrecy to be absolute,’ except only and only when the depositor consents. Congress made this law. The lawmakers should not be the lawbreakers. Instead, the lawmakers should, if necessary, amend the law.
“Fourth ground: the theory of checks and balances prohibits this impeachment court from claiming an exception for itself: Under the theory of checks and balances, each branch of government has the ability to counter the actions of any other branch, so that no single branch can control the entire government. The Constitution allows one branch to check the excesses or choices of another branch.
“Do we mean to say that this impeachment court is free of any check or balance? Then it becomes almighty! Under the Constitution, this impeachment court has no authority to study its own navel…” To be continued.
By Atty. Batas Mauricio
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