February 13, 2012
SENATE MINORITY LEADER ALAN PETER S. CAYETANO
I did not get P100 million from the President, but I have a hundred million reasons to vote this way. Mabigat po ang desisyon na ito. Since Thursday afternoon, sinabi ko na hindi muna ako mag-iisip pero noong Friday, Saturday, at Sunday afternoon, (ito ay aking) napag-isipan at pinagdasal.
As a lawyer, napakahirap po mag-decide kung mag-a-abide o i-re-respeto namin ang isang TRO. Hindi po sapat ang isang minuto para ipaliwanag ang napakabigat na isyu kaya baka tulad ni Sen. Kiko Pangilinan ay magbibigay na lamang po kami ng extended written explanation.
But I would like to emphasize that in making this decision, we took into consideration the law - meaning the constitution, existing laws, jurisprudence, the decisions of the Supreme Court, not only in the Philippines but also those that happened in America.
Sa isang banda po sinasabi na kapag hindi ni-respeto ang Supreme Court masisira ang rule of law. Sinasabi po na ito po ay huling takbuhan ng mga gustong protektahan ang kanilang karapatan. Pero tama rin po ang sinabi ng isang senador kanina sa caucus na ang impeachment court ay huling takbuhan ng mga mamamayan kung mayroong napakataas na nanunungkulan na kailangan alisin.
Nakakalimutan po yata natin na Chief Justice, isang miyembro ng Supreme Court, ang ating hinuhusgahan ngayon. Nagkakaroon rin po ng pag-iisip ang ating mamamayan na ang Supreme Court at sila ay mayroong 'tulungan' pagdating dito sa impeachment.
I don't want to cast any doubt upon the Supreme Court that's why I asked the witness, Mr. Garcia, last Thursday, "Kung walang TRO, ilalabas mo ba 'yung accounts?" Ang sagot niya ay "hindi".
Ibig sabihin, kahit hindi nagbigay ng TRO ang Supreme Court, hindi pa rin naman ilalabas iyon dito. So I was hoping that they would not issue a TRO here as we go on with the case.
But to expound, Mr. President, it is true that the highest court is the Supreme Court - the court of last resort. But we often say and hear that the impeachment court, at the very least, is equal to, or some will even say 'higher', in the sense that we can try impeachment cases filed against the Supreme Court, to all its justices or one-by-one.
So at the very least, Mr. President, we all agree that when it comes to matters of impeachment, that should be left completely to the impeachment court.
We have agreed that all of us who graduated from law school after the 1987 constitution understand the expanded jurisdiction - similar to what is commonly mentioned "grave abuse of discretion leading to lack or excess of jurisdiction".
Pero alam natin na kabilang sa kapangyarihan ng Korte na tingnan kung may 'grave abuse of discretion' sa anumang ahensiya ng pamahalaan na hindi mawala yung 'political question doctrine' - na kung klaro na sa isang ahensiya ng gobyerno o isang instrumentality ng kapangyarihan o 'discretion' na iyon, hindi dapat panghimasukan ito ng Korte Suprema.
Mayroon pong itinuro sa amin noong pumapasok pa tayo sa mga debate clubs in high school and in college - 'yun pong argumentong ad absurdum. You bring the argument to the absurd so that you will understand whether or not that argument is plausible.
Ang Korte ay sumang-ayon na kapag pinatigil ang hearing, hindi pwedeng gawin ng Supreme Court iyon. But we also agreed that our decision cannot be changed by the Supreme Court. Ang pinag-uusapan natin ay interlocutory orders - kung 'by rule of law' ay pwedeng mag-issue ng TRO ang Supreme Court. Ang sabi ng majority ay pwede (mag-issue ng TRO...).
So let me bring the argument to the absurd. What if the only ground to impeach a president, a Comelec chairman, a chairman of COA or the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court justice was a dollar account? Then the TRO will practically stop the whole impeachment proceeding.
What if one party suddenly decides each and every subparagraph will go the Supreme Court for a TRO? And what if the Supreme Court issued 2-3 TROs a week? Hindi ba mayroon tayong doktrina sa batas na "what you cannot do directly, you cannot do indirectly"? (O sa pamamagitan ng isang TRO ay 'indirectly' mapigilan o hindi matuloy ang impeachment trial).
We cannot say later on "We will abide by this TRO then we will not abide by this one". We have to face squarely the issue of jurisdiction: 'Does the Supreme Court have jurisdiction in the matters of impeachment?'
You look them in the eye and tell them: "This is not a disrespect (to the SC) but this is not your field. Hindi niyo ito sakop." Dahil kapag sinabi po nating sakop nila ito, they can practically stop the impeachment court.
Let me borrow from our good friend, sinabi niya po ito sa kanyang church, si Pastor Boy Castillo. Sabi niya ang TRO ay dapat nangangahulugan na Truth, Respect and Obedience.
This impeachment is a search for the Truth. Hindi ito criminal case. Hindi makukulong ang respondent dito. Ang pinag-uusapan dito ay fitness, kung karapat-dapat ba siya manungkulan. Dapat po dito, pagkatapos ng trial, dalawa lang ang resulta: kung klaro sa atin na hindi siya fit at dapat siya tanggalin o di kaya't klaro sa atin na fit siya at lahat tayo ay dapat suportahan siya bilang Chief Justice.
Secondly, Respect goes both ways. We should respect the Supreme Court, yes. But did they respect us by suddenly issuing the TRO even if they could have taken judicial notice that the president of PS Bank will not give the foreign accounts to this court with or without the TRO? After this, we decided not to subpoena the justices and then they will issue a TRO just like that?
Lastly, Obedience. Obedience to the rule of law. We are under scrutiny here, binabantayan tayo ng publiko. Kahit anong maging desisyon natin dito, may sasang-ayon at hindi sasang-ayon sa atin. The question is: "Obedience to what law will lead us to the truth?" Will the TRO help us find out what's in the dollar accounts or will it hinder it?
This is my humble explanation, Mr. President. That is why I voted to uphold the jurisdiction of this impeachment court that the Supreme Court does not have any jurisdiction or it is a political question that they cannot issue TROs on or orders that will in one way or another affect how we try and how we decide this case (as an impeachment court.)
Thursday, February 23