Gutierrez impeachment inevitable: law expert

By Niko Baua, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 10 2011 10:51 PM | Updated as of Mar 11 2011 04:08 PM

MANILA, Philippines – A law expert said Thursday that the impeachment of Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez is inevitable largely due to the movements of proceedings in the Congress and the latest recommendation of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee to have the Ombudsman be subjected to an impeachment process.

Fourteen senators signed the resolution, with 9 of them signing with reservations on the "impeachment clause" in particular. 

They were wary of being judged as biased since the senators will be acting as judges if the impeachment process in the House of Representatives reaches the Senate. 

University of the East College of Law Dean Amado Valdez, president of the Philippine Association of Law Schools, said one deciding factor is that Gutierrez is set to retire next year.

"After, all isang taon ka na lang, wounded servant pa, baka hindi ka na effective, iko-convict na rin siya kahit yung mga ayaw siya i-convict," he said.

Valdez added that although some senators have already expressed their sentiments on Gutierrez's case, it may not affect the impeachment process.

He said at least two thirds of roughly 16 of the 24 senators are needed to convict Gutierrez and since senators are politicians, they will be extra careful in appreciating evidence to avoid being branded as either weak, inept, or ineffective. 

"Iyung mga tatakbo ng re-election, yung mga tatakbong presidente, magiging extra careful yan, kungdi masisira reputation nila as a fair leader," he said.

Valdez added that the Supreme Court may no longer intervene in Gutierrez's case since the impeachment is purely legislative in nature, and by virtue of separation powers duly inscribe in the Constitution, no juridical entity is legally allowed to decide or recommend any action. 

He warned that the problem at hand is not the impeachment proceedings per se since this is almost inevitable. 

His concern lies on the flow of other cases pending in the Ombudsman since its head, Gutierrez, will be busy defending herself before Congress and the impeachment court in the Senate.