Estrada Impeachment Opposition to Motion to Quash
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES
Case No. 001-2000
IN THE MATTER OF THE: IMPEACHMENT OF PRESIDENT JOSEPH EJERCITO ESTRADA
COMMENT/OPPOSITON TO MOTION TO QUASH
THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, through its Prosecutors, to the Chief Justice, respectfully submits the following -
Before discussing the President’s arguments, the Prosecutors must admit, candidly, that the filing of the President’s Motion, while not totally unexpected, did come as a disappointment. It has come as a disappointment because it goes against the teeth of the President’s valiant declarations, repeated on television and reported in the newspapers for the past month, of his aching eagerness to take the stand, to answer the charges against him point by point, and in this manner to clear himself not only before the bar of the Senate but, more importantly, before the bar of public opinion.
Indeed, he is quoted in the front page of The Manila Standard as having emphasized over dzMM, and we quote, “I will answer the a acusations at the Senate and you’ll be surprised. I have many more things to say in the trial, and we will see the whole truth.”[] His change of heart, evident from his filing of a Motion to Quash, has been this surprise. The Prosecutors and the nation as well had taken the President at his word. His was not a gallant decision, after all.
We will now address the motion.
I. THE SENATE HAS NO JURISDICTION (A) TO DISMISS THE IMPEACHMENT PROCEEDINGS OR (B) TO NULLIFY/REJECT THE TRANSMITTAL BY SPEAKER VILLAR OF THE IMPEACHMENT COMPLAINT/RESOLUTIONS OF IMPEACHMENT.
There are two reasons why the Chief Justice, as Presiding Officer of the Impeachment Trial, should deny the President’s Motion outright, motu proprio.
1. The first is that Section 3, par. (4) of Article XI of the Constitution categorically mandates that when, as in this case, the verified complaint or resolution of impeachment is filed by at least one-third of all the Members of the House, then “trial by the Senate shall forthwith proceed.”[] And, again, in par. (6) of the same section, the Senate’s function in impeachment proceedings is declared to be the power “to try and decide all cases of impeachment.”[] Therefore the only jurisdiction of the Senate is to proceed to trial, which connotes an examination of the factual and legal issues and a resolution of the merits of the case.[] The constitution thus impliedly prohibits the Senate from doing anything short of proceeding with the trial and rendering a judgment either of conviction or acquittal.
Neither is the filing of a motion to abort the proceedings, allowed by the Rules on Impeachment Trials promulgated by the Senate. IT is true that there is a provision in the Senate Rules that “the Rules of Court shall apply insofar as they are applicable.” But this statement is not a general provsion, standing separately by itself. It is a statement merely appended to Rule VI as a penultimate sentence precisely to emphasize that the Rules of Court contemplated to be suppletorily applicable are only the Rules bearing on the specific subject matter of Rule VI.
[] The Manila Standard, November 10, 2000, front page.
[] Sec. 3(4), Article XI, Constitution.
[] Sec. 3(6), Article XI, Constitution.
[] Black’s Law Dictionary citing Tittsworth v. Chaffin, Mo. App. 741 S.W.2d 314, 317.
[] Rule VI, 2nd par.