Move to Intervene in Arroyo Impeachment Quashed

Or maybe squashed may be a more apt term. Like a bug.

The House committee on justice voted to dismiss the intervention complaint advanced by Manolo Quezon and a group of bloggers which sought to add the memorandum of agreement on ancestral domain between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) as one of the grounds for impeachment of President Arroyo. The House supposedly lacked jurisdiction to take cognizance of another impeachment complaint since there had already been an earlier one filed by Joey De Vencia et. al. based on other grounds. The committee brushed aside the argument that this was not a new impeachment suit, but merely one which seeks to consolidate an issue with should properly be included in the acts constituting impeachable offenses committed by GMA.

This was not entirely unexpected. Arroyo will not allow such a potentially damaging issue to be included in the impeachment process, especially with the Supreme Court decision holding that the BJE-MOA engineered by Malacanang was unconstitutional. The MILF deal can be characterized as treasonous.

But this does not bode well for the main impeachment case. The House will make short work of this latest attempt at unseating GMA. Her friends want her to have a stress-free Christmas.

6 thoughts on “Move to Intervene in Arroyo Impeachment Quashed”

  1. I think the bloggers/intervenors should take their case to the Supreme Court to challenge the constitutionality of the House rules on the issue of “proceedings.” The constitution bans only initiating more than one impeachment “proceeding” within one year. The intervention was filed in the same proceeding in which the (intervention) cause could be taken up along with the other causes in the main complaint or be incorporated/included as one item in the set of charges in one complaint. The idea that intervention is a separate proceeding, I think, has been a long-held fiction in the law books. How could it be a separate proceeding when by its very nature it attaches to an existing case or proceeding. In fact the propriety of (the motion for) intervention is determined in the same prior exisiting case or proceeding. You don’t file an intervention in an existing intervention case. There is no such thing. There is no stand-alone/separate proceeding intervention case. The very idea bothers the mind.

    The Tongressmen may have been engaged in a faulty reading of the constitution for a long time. The Supremes should bring enlightenment to the House of Tong.

  2. Your arguments are correct, Capolegis. However, Arroyo’s allies in the House have taken an overly technical approach (no surprise, as this gives them an excuse to dismiss the intervention outright). The fact that the intervention has a heading of “Complaint-in-Intervention” instead of “motion” for intervention didn’t help any. It was just a motion to intervene but the committee on justice chose to see it differently. As for bringing it to the SC, this is entirely possible. Although the probable reaction of the High Court is that impeachment is an inherently political question and it would be loath to encroach on the powers and prerogatives of a co-equal branch.

  3. I thought we have moved away from the strict construction of political question doctrine in impeachment cases. The Davide 2nd impeachment case comes to mind. There the doctrine was raised by the proponents of the 2nd impeachment but the Supremes took the case and actually ruled in favor of those who opposed the 2nd impeachment. The ruling was grounded on supremacy doctrine because the then house rules on impeachment was contrary to the constitutional 1-year 1-impeachment limit. I think it is probable the Supremes will also take this Intervention not only because of the constitutional substance involved but that the Tongmen may have again engaged in sloppy reading of the fundamental law.

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