Archive for February, 2012
A funny thing happened at the forum today.
Private Prosecutor Aguirre was caught on camera
covering both his ears
while Miriam Senator Defensor-Santiago was delivering
another of his stinging harangues to the Prosecution Panel.
When asked to explain his action, Private Prosecutor Aguirre
replied that he did this purposely because her voice was
too sharp for him and that she should have some respect
for the prosecution panel members.
The harangue was because the prosecution Panel acted
stupidly in all the courtroom proceedings and that
since Aguirre admitted that he did this disrespectful act on purpose
this proved that he is, in actuality, gago (stupid).
He has been cited for contempt and his punishment
will come down at the next session.
Prosecutors and judges may treat themselves with equal respect,
but Aguirre forgets that the judges make the decisions!
(suggestion for the punishment: lock him in a room for 24 1/2 hours while
the same video/s of Senator Miriam is played continuously over and over again)
Performing his award-winning examination of
the Secretary of Justice
is Senator-Judge Gregorio Honasan.
(never coulda said it better misself of the Ascendancy of the Bill of Rights.
way to go, General Honasan, I am impressed)
The prosecution panel would most like to have Justice Sereno on the witness stand. Her dissenting opinion on the Tro was the only refernce wherein Justice Sec Leila de Lima based her hearsay observations under oath.
It so happens that there really was nothing in the Constitution that authorizes de Lima to issue a hold order on CGMA’s trip for her operation. This is probably the main reason why the TRO was issued by the Supreme Court—-De Lima has no power to issue a hold order. As a consequence, De Lima may now be in hot water, too.
(And if another Justice talkes the witness stand to contradict her statements, she may be liable for perjury, no? Whatta mess!)
Betrayal of Public Trust
The internet will show some write ups regarding the subject, write ups which are both scholarly and expertly laid out. All these, however appeal to mostly the minds of the barristers and the learned. To the ordinary laymen, the write ups are vague. In fact, even the writers on the subject consider the subject itself as vague. Under such a situation, I stopped reading these essays, not only because they imply that there has been no definition nor an explanation of the phrase “betrayal of public trust”, but also because my head starts to ache on those times when I have to deal with ambiguities. This is one such ambiguity.
When the phrase “betrayal of public trust” was included in the Constitution (Articles of Impeachment), it was a stupid thing to do. And if one of the framers of the Constitution, the one who still lives, would disagree with me and subsequently call me as unlearned, this act would be the most he can do as we shall soon see.
Let me paraphrase it this way—-
Betrayal of trust
The first thing that comes to mind for an ordinary person is that somebody, presumably a woman, betrays a man for the love of another man; a ménage a trois situation wherein a conflict would arise which will end presumably in a homicide case.
Betrayals, for the females who love to keep secrets which the other females would like to learn, is in the uncovering of secrets between friends.
In the military, betrayals usually mean that their secret operation has been compromised, a word which implies that somebody has forewarned the enemy.
In all these cases and in all walks of life, betrayal means expectations which are blown, or confidence which has been shattered, and disappointment in a relationship.
But everybody would agree to what I have said so far, because it is the plain and simple definition of the phrase “betrayal of trust”. But then the phrase is modified to “betrayal of public trust”. And the whole thing becomes as puzzling as the Gordian Knot. Moreover, the addition of the word “public” is where the act becomes stupid.
Betrayal of Public Trust
Why is it stupid? Public refers to the generality of the people, a bulk, a multitude of people with varied likes, dislikes, preferences, morals, priorities and idiosyncrasies and political affiliations. A group may say the impeached has done well. Still another group may say he must go. Therefore there can be no standard to determine the guilt of an impeached person. If there be any, this standard would consist of multiple standards depending upon the whims of the people judging the impeached.
To some barristers and students of the law, this phrase was added to the Constitution as a catchall provision, meaning that the impeached will be liable for each and everything that he has done which is bad. If he attended a state dinner in a drunken state, or if in that state dinner he exploded into a fart, these are stinking reasons for him to have betrayed the public trust. If he so much as preferred boys to girls, this is another betrayal of public trust. If he so much as miss regularly the Sunday mass, a portion of the public would be disappointed and thus he has betrayed the public trust.
Betrayal of public trust would therefore imply that no matter how meaningless the act that the impeached has made, he would be found guilty. In truth, all the articles of impeachment could be replaced by this one phrase. It is all-encompassing. This phrase was added in those times when Marcos was a phobia and not-to-let-him-get-away was the mania. It was added so that those impeached would not have a chance to be proven innocent and thus get away with it.
But it would not have been stupid had the framers enumerated the offenses that would have been considered an outright betrayal of public trust. A list such as this would have been a onerous thing to produce because it should involve the consensual opinion of the public. What might then represent a serious facsimile of this consensual opinion of the public? The oath of office? Nah! I wouldn’t say so. The oath of office, for me, reeks with promises, and promises might not be that binding to impeach. Besides, the oath of office is somewhat thought of as a generalized what-to-do.
With a list of specific impeachable offenses that could be raised against an impeachable official, the ordinary layman, more particularly, the employed middle income group of people would instantly consider a list that determines whether an employee can be fired or be retained by the employer. And that is mainly, that job description which is laid out to the employee at the time he is hired.
Now, job descriptions are not laid out to the impeachable official. He is instead provided with a guide of what he is to do, the guide of which may be lodged in the constitution,or a list of jobs to perform as inherited from his predecessor, or even a bunch of promises he made before he got up to the position. Breaking this list may constitute the impeachable offense, but still this list may not a public expectation make. It must be the trust of the public that is betrayed. And as I said, the public trust is based on its expectations, and will be as varied as the many groups in a multitude of people.
A consensual job description for the impeachable officials in the government, alas, is non-existent.
Make one, and thereafter an impeachment court may not be required if any item in the job description is not kept.
It’s a shame . The revelation is that there is a marked conflict between the Justices of the Supreme Court.
It is indeed a great shame that those initiating this conflict are those bucking for positions and/or favors. Or those who have a bone to settle with the majority.
Tough. But this sort of thing happens in any politically-inspired assemblies, including the Senate Impeachment Court.
One of the articles that impeached Richard Nixon is his having too much influence on the workings of the FBI.
Interesting developments on the Philippine NBI.
It has been vague, but even the lawyers cannot define precisely what the phrase “betrayal of public trust” means.
I might be able to attempt paraphrasing it I deprive myself of the books written on the subject. Perhaps one has to start defining this phrase from an innocent layman’s point of view.
I will try tomorrow.
Philippine Savings bank President, Pascual Garcia, mentioned that AMLC went to examine the accounts of specifically Corona and seven others to make eight.
There were eight Justices who signed the TRO to allow GMA to go abroad.
Need I say more?
Yes. I say that there might just be a purge going on, the purge of the Supreme Court.
Del Castillo is next.
But why? Mindanao?
(Pascual Garcia may be that single person who dismantled about half the evidence in Article 2)
Secretary of Justice, Leila De Lima, answers the questions from his examiner regarding the controversial TRO that intended to lift the watchlist brought down on the former President GMA who wanted to be treated abroad. Frankly, she had to grope around for the right answers. These answers did not prove to be satisfactory, though.
Smarting from the way Ping lacson escaped from her clutches only to come out when the coast is clear, De Lima had to be extra-careful this time, as there might not be a third time. She was determined to prevent CGMA from fleeing. She can’t help to be paranoid after Ping Lacson escaped. This man is now one of the Senator-Judges sitting at the Impeachment Court.
Her non-compliance with the Temporary Restraining Order issued by the Supreme Court can get her disbarred.
Furthermore, CGMA was compelled to have her operation inside the country. This resulted in a botched operation because no extensive lab tests were made on her bones before the operation. Now she has a permanent damage on her neck bone structure. This operation could have been completed abroad without the risks involved.
Let me put it this way—had there been a compliance to the TRO issued by the Supreme Court, CGMA would never have suffered such injuries. Paranoia or no paranoia, the TRO should have been complied with.
Leila De Lima, with an outstanding record as Human Rights Commissioner before this instance, would not allow CGMA her right to be treated abroad for her health and wellness.
Probably she has yet to know the meaning of TRO—–it means STOP!
(she has to provide a more plausible explanation as to why only Corona has to be faulted and not the other seven)
Prosecution Panel Chief Niel Tupas, Jr. received his sharpest dressing down yet from Senator-Judge Pontius Enrile when the former tried to restore the trashed “bribery’ factor in Article 3. The said factor constitutes the free tickets and complimentary favors and perks to Chief Justice Renato Corona. These items are not specifically included in the ill-formed and defective Articles of Impeachment, and to include these items would mean that Article 3 would have to be expanded. Anyway, complimentary tickets and perks are not uncommonly provided to the high officials nd high-profile people. All major companies provide these.
The prosecution Panel’s mistake is that they should have presented these items after they have presented the impeachable actions of the respondent, and not present these as the introduction to Article 3.
Ah well, this gives the Senate the opportunity to be dismissed early.