'Impeachment shows power of the people'

by Jojo Malig, ABS-CBNnews.com

Posted at Jan 16 2012 11:57 PM | Updated as of Jan 17 2012 07:57 AM

MANILA, Philippines - A law professor is calling on the public to pay attention to the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona since it concerns the issue of transparency and Philippine democracy.

"Magmasid, magmatyag, mag-isip. Maging masipag, dahil demokrasya natin ito," said UP College of Law Professor Victoria Avena. "Kapag ito pumalpak, sino ang masasaktan?"

She said Corona's impeachment trial shows that power does not emanate from the Supreme Court but from the people.

"Sa pangkabuong disenyo ng ating demokrasya, ang tunay at kaisa-isang, kahulihulihang supreme, hindi ang Supreme Court, kung hindi ang taumbayan," she said. "That is the reason why may impeachment."

"The reason why there is an impeachment is nobody is above the law, the law as dictated by the 'taumbayan,'" she added, explaining that the country has a representative democratic system.

Avena said this is why impeachment functions were given to the Lower House and the Senate.

"Kapag ang impeachment fuinction binigay mo sa presidente, isang tao lang iyan. Kapag binigay mo sa judiciary, 15 lang iyan. Kanino mo bibigay? Doon na lang sa House at sa Senado because they are very representative -- territorial, regional, sectoral, national," she explained.

"Sila talaga ang kumakatawan sa taumbayan. Sa kanila iniluklok ng ating sistema ang functions of impeachment," she added.

"Iyan ang essense ng demokrasya. Lahat accountable kanino? Isa lang. Taumbayan, period," she said.

Avena, meanwhile, said there are differences between the Senate impeachment trial and court trials.

"Sa ordinaryong korte, ang sinusunod mo ang procedures ng judiciary in accordance with the laws of the land," she said. "Ang impeachment, mayroong kaniyang sariling proseso, may kaniyang sariling historical moorings and philosphical and and cultural context."

"Kaya iyung mga ordinaryong rules ng judiciary, pagdating sa sarili nilang kaso, hindi applicable sa impeachment," Avena said.