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Ninez Cacho-Olivares

Too many ways to skin an LP cat

Friday, 24 March 2017 00:00 Published in Commentary

Rody, speaking before the Fiipino community in Thailand, called for a stop to Vice President Leni Robredo’s impeachment.
But no matter what he says in this specific impeachment complaint against Leni, the truth is, it is not he who can order the House of Representatives to stop it, since this is a constitutional mandate of the House, an independent body, now led by Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, who appears not give  the pubic the perception that it is a Palace puppet House, toeing the presidential line, just like the lower House, as well as the Senate.  was during the term of Rody’s predecessor, the yellow president, Noynoy Aquino.
Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez said the planned filing of an impeachment complaint against Vice President Robredo may still push through despite President Rodrigo Duterte’s pronouncement that efforts for it must stop.
Duterte made the call early Thursday morning as he acknowledge that Robredo was elected and that she should be allowed to express her views because “this is a democracy.”
It doesn’t really matter what his sentiments are because impeachment is a function of the House of Representatives.
To Rody’s call to Congress to “stop it (impeachment of VP), Alvarez told reporters via text message: “We have to do our duty as mandated by the Constitution.”
Interviewed on TV, the Speaker said he respects the President’s opinion, but underscored that he heads a separate branch of government.
“I respect tha opinion of the President. However,  we in Congress have a constitutional mandate  to process any impeachment complaint submitted to the House of Representatives, since we have exclusive jurisdiction in impeachment complaints. There is a separation of powers,” he stressed.
In the same Balitanghali interview, the Speaker insisted that Leni committed an “irresponsible” act on behalf of the government in her recorded speech.
“What I saw was that it (the speech of Robredo) was so irresponsible. You also know  that what is happening is that there is  someone, an official in government  who has a thick face sent the video  clip to the United Nations to destroy  the country,” Alvarez stressed.
He also questioned Robredo’s supposed lack of patriotism, vowing to make the Vice President accountable for her remarks.
The Speaker went on, saying that if one has sinned against the country, we cannot just close our eyes. We have to hold responsible the irresponsible government officials.”
“So where is her patriotism? Where is her love of country? Where is the oath that she took when she was sworn in as Vice President?” he added.
Alvarez said he is studying the impeachment  complaint  against Robredo over her  betrayal of public trust.
In that  video, Robredo raised irregularities in the administration’s war against drugs, including the spate of killings, as well as the so-called “palit-ulo” scheme.
However, two former senatorial aspirants, known supporters of the late  Ferdinand Marcos, are said to have submitted an impeachment rap for Alvarez’s endorsement, while another group is also eyeing another impeachment complaint.
This now causes a problem for  the Speaker, who says he will be filing an impeachment complaint, although  it is still under review.
There can only be one impeachment complaint per year against impeachable officers.
Perennial impeachment filer, Oliver Lozano and his sidekick Mel Chavez, said that they had filed a complaint against Leni, citing as ground, betrayal of public trust.
An earlier Supreme Court ruling stated that the impeachment case filed by Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano against President Duterte cannot accommodate a supplemental complaint to his complaint, which Sen. Antonio Trillanes claimed he would be filing.
Still, if the House wants to take on the impeachment complaint filed by Lozano, his ground of betrayal of public trust against Leni, could still fly, should the House justice committee accept Loxano’s complaint and start the impeachment proceedings. It  will still be a case of numbers to get Leni impeached and sent to the Senate for trial.
There is however, an alternative to the Lozano impeachment complaint.
It can be trashed by the House justice committee and wait for another year, for Leni to be impeached.
But in a year’s time, Leni may just be out as vice president of the Republic, as Bongbong Marcos may just win his protest, that is, if the Supreme Court, acting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal starts counting the votes from the protest areas.
Or, Leni and any yellow devotee  may never become president, should the federal system of government pass the two houses of Congress.
In a parliamentary system, there is no position for a deputy prime minister.

Tough legal battle ahead for Leila

Thursday, 23 March 2017 00:00 Published in Commentary

Filipinos will be very surprised if the Supreme Court (SC) upholds the petition filed by Sen. Leila de Lima and her counsels, mainly because she was clearly into forum shopping, and worse, Leila defied the court’s hierarchy rules, by going straight to the High Court even before she went the route of the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Judge Juanita Guerrero who had ordered her arrest.
But Leila and her counsels’ biggest mistake from the start was Leila’s refusal to heed the summons from the Department of Justice for at least two hearings held, which she had rejected, insisting that the DoJ had no jurisdiction over her case and that it is only the Ombudsman who has that jurisdiction.
Logically then, Leila’s refusal to even acknowledge the DoJ summons, led to her not having presented her argument before the DoJ.  She brought her case instead to the media.
Having lost the opportunity to present her side, the National Bureau of Investigation, through the DoJ, filed the drug trafficking case against Leila, and she still refused to acknowledge the jurisdiction of the Muntinlupa RTC.
Not surprisingly, Judge Guerrero issued a warrant of arrest against her and she was forthwith arrested by the government agents and detained in the Phillippine National Police Custodial Center.
Much earlier, Leila went to the Court of Appeals, seeking a temporary restraining order (TRO) against the DoJ, which the CA did not grant, after which she went straight to the SC, ignoring completely the RTC.
She then filed a quashal of her case before the same court and another branch of the Muntinlupa RTC which had not yet ordered her arrest, although she was arrested abd detained by that time .
Her other problem is that, as Solicitor General Jose Calida pointed out, Leila fabricated her notarized affidavit, as the lawyer who signed the affidavit with her jurats, could not have been present at the time that the affidavit was notarized by the lawyer. Leila denied this. However, Calida has in his possession witnesses’ account of that claimed visit of her lawyer, at the time she was somewhere else and that all the policemen who handle the registry of visitors found no name of the lawyer and issued affidavits that no lawyer came over.
Leila is really in hot water if proven that the documents were fabricated.
But what irony, considering that it is Leila who has been accusing DoJ chief Vitaliano Aguirre of fabricating the affidavits of his witnesses against her, when apparently, it is she who is into the fabrication of evidence.
Leila probably went straight to the High Court, in the hope of gaining her early freedom with the SC upholding her petition.
What is so strange about her big mistake of refusing to recognize Judge Guerrero court’s jurisdiction over her drug case is the fact that she is a lawyer, and she certainly knows of the hierarchical rules of the courts and of course, she knows all about forum shopping, which is a no-no, as every lawyer knows, or ought to know.
She took a big risk in first, not recognizing the DoJ during the two hearings on her drug case, insisting that the DoJ has no jurisdiction over her as it is only the Ombudsman who does; insisted on not recognizing the RTC court of judge Guerrero  saying too that the RTC court has no jurisdiction over her, and that it is only the Ombudsman who does.
It was only after her arrest that Leila filed a quashal and expected the High Court to uphold her certiorari against Judge Guerrero.
From the SC justices’ interpellation directed at the counsel of Leila, former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay, it appeared that several associate justices focused more on the rule of court’s hierarchy. True, the allegations of a fabricated notarized document also entered the picture, but it appeared that the former theme was more stressed by the justices.
SC Associate Justice Diosdado Peralta said that Leila should have exhausted all remedies before going to the High Court, considering the fact that the RTC has yet to decide on their motion to dismiss the drug trafficking charges against her.
“That is the problem. It is pending before you came here. Why not wait for the RTC? In all cases that came here on lack of probable cause, the RTC first answered the queries of the accused,” Peralta said.
Associate Justice Marvin Leonen also asked Hilbay why they proceeded immediately to the High Court out of judicial courtesy.
”Maybe because you went up here out of judicial courtesy but not required of the trial court and  wanted to refuse to continue on with the case but the point is that you should not gone up here (SC), the evidence that you have regarding the persecution could have been presented at the RTC,” Leonen said.
Now that would be a real problem for Leila and her counsels, since upholding her petition for a certiorari will definitely set a precedent, if the SC ruling favors her.
All  accused and ordered arrested  will then ignore the lower court’s jurisdiction over their  cases and go straight to the SC, which will definitely screw up the rules on the courts’ hierarchy.

Too worried for words

Wednesday, 22 March 2017 00:00 Published in Commentary

Vice President Leni Robredo who was said earlier to be unfazed over a probable  impeachment complaint to be filed against her has changed her tune.
Today, after an impeachment case against her was filed, Leni says that she is worried she may not get a fair impeachment proceeding in the House and a possible Senate trial, if it comes to that.
The truth is, it was the impeachment complaint filed by Magdalo partylister Rep. Gary Alejano, under the tutelage of Sen. Antonio Trillanes, as well as detained Sen. Leila de Lima, and not to forget, the Liberal Party, who is definitely behind this complaint.
What is surprising however, is that Alejano and company must have known that the House of Representatives is packed with Rody Duterte’s  congressmen who can easily kill Alejano’s complaint.
For Alejano and company to have known this, but went ahead with it, must also have known the consequences of his actions, yet he went on with it.
Was it because this group merely wanted to come up with this complaint, to justify seeking a criminal case against Rody before the International Court of Justice, and getting their two witnesses, Edgar Matobato and Arturo Lascañas? They certainly hinted at it too broadly.
Is it to keep up with the black propaganda against Rody, both aimed at local and international media, in a bid to secure public support for them to gauge whether it is now the right time to oust Rody?
If so, they got it all wrong and it is now that this Alejano group and his co-coup plotters that should be worried, since their symbol of opposition, Leni Robredo, is now in really hot water, after her taped speech for the United Nations where she, the second highest official in the Philippines, can possibly become the president of the republic, and, as president she certainly would be the commander in chief of all the armed forces of the Philippines, the very armed forces which she had denounced, apart from portraying the country and the nation in a negative light.
Of course, her pro-yellow propagandist, former Akbayan partylister Barry Gutierrez, even when he claims that Robredo is worried, also said in an interview that the impeachment complaint filed by lawyer Oliver Lozano and Melchor Chavez is “pretty shallow” to be a basis for impeachment.
Gutierrez, an ally of the Liberals, especially of  Noynoy Aquino, seems to conveniently forget the way the Aquino allies in Congress then, the impeachment and conviction of then sitting Supreme Court Justice, the late Renato Corona.
Corona was convicted on the charge of not having submitted an accurate Statement of Assets and Liabilities net worth which is not only an administrativeoffense that can be corrected but also that it is not an impeachable offense, yet he was impeached and convicted by the allies of Noynoy on a baseless ground.
Truth is, Leni and her yellows are really worried over the impeachment complaint, not because Lozano submitted his complaint against Leni, but because, no matter how weak or how the complaint has little substance in it, but because the yellows do not have the numbers to kill the impeachment complaint.
It is always a numbers game in impeachment proceedings and it is always political. Gutierrez and even the LPs who are now in the minority certainly know this.
Leni and her LPs must also have known that with Alejano filing an impeachment case this also would be met with an impeachment case against Leni, which now puts the yellows in a precarious situation.
But perhaps they want this to happen, for them to make Leni out as a political martyr, with whom the public will sympathize and revolt against Rody and his administration, with Leni ascending to Malacañang.
Do they really believe that the public will rally round Leni and for that matter Leila de Lima, at this point when Rody is enjoying massive support from the Filipino people?
Rody became popular precisely because of the yellow regime, and more specifically Noynoy Aquino, not doing anything for the people and the country.
There is doubt that the Filipinos — save for the yellows of course — will rally around them.
But they apparently believe that the UN and of course, the US, are ready to help them stage yet another unconstitutional ouster.
The yellows may just have gotten things wrong.
If they try another Edsa II, there will be no military and police behind them.
Instead, these plotters  may all find themselves in jail for rebellion, which carries a penalty of life imprisonment.

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