The authors of the 1987 Philippine Constitution made it easy for the House of Representatives to impeach a top official of the land to ensure checks and balances in the government, one of the people who designed the charter said Thursday.
In an interview with reporters at the sidelines of a forum organized by the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), law expert Christian Monsod explained that framers of the Constitution intentionally made the impeachment process easy for the lower chamber to hold erring officials to account.
“Talaga namang madali e (It is really easy), we made it easy for the House to impeach. That was deliberate, intentional yon sa (to the) framers, kami (us). Ginawa namin yon (We did that) because of the accountability system,” Monsod said.
Monsod said that the idea to “liberalize the process” of impeachment was born out of the Marcos dictatorship, wherein the late president Ferdinand Marcos easily shut down the Congress and control the judiciary.
But to prevent it from being abused, the impeachment should be approved by two-thirds of the members of the House of Representatives, the expert said.
The House of Representatives on Wednesday voted to overturn the decision of the committee on justice to junk the impeachment complaint against poll chief Andres Bautista, making him the first chairman of the Commission on Elections—a constitutional body—to be impeached in Philippine history.
Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno may also suffer the same fate as the same House committee ruled last week that it had found “sufficient ground” to impeach her.
While the possibility of impeaching Sereno at the lower chamber is very likely, Monsod said the success of the move to unseat her from her position would yet to be seen at the Senate.
“Ang House kasi may pagka-loko loko yan eh (The House is quite ludicrious). They will try to embarrass you, like the way they embarrassed (Sen. Leila) De Lima. They will try to humiliate her (Sereno) and don’t want her to be humiliated,” he said.
“Go to the Senate, palagay ko makukuha niya ‘yan (I think she’ll get its support). The House will likely (impeach her),” he added. /jpv
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