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Impeachment empowers people


BY PET MELLIZA/ THE BEEKEEPER

I don’t see the country disintegrating with the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona; I see a people empowered seeing their representatives in the Lower House exercising their constitutional power that impeachable public officials like the justices of the Supreme Court are publicly accountable hence, must behave.

The Lower House pulled off a similar act earlier by impeaching Ombudsman Ma. Merceditas Gutierrez. At the start, she was defiant all over, threatening congress people and ordinary citizens who file the complaint with perjury.

But as the process prospered and after learning that insiders were tipping off the panel of Rep. Niel “Jun-Jun” Tupas, Jr. (LP, Iloilo 5th district, chair, committee on justice) with intelligence information, worse, when the impeachment complaint had been transmitted to the Senate and trial dates were set, “Merci” stepped down, eve of Labor Day of 2011. She discovered there were subordinates lined up by the prosecution as witnesses at how she protected her appointing power, former Pres. GMA and her cabal, how she stonewalled investigations on plunder charges against her boss, her kins and allies. In other words, Merci stepped down when class “A” evidences were about to knock her out cold.

Something uncanny happened in the aftermath. The prosecution had overwhelming evidences. But it allowed her to go free after resigning.

***

With the exit of Merci and two others, and Emilio Gonzalez III, deputy ombudsman for military affairs who was sacked by the Office of the President, the disciplining authority mandated in RA 6770, which found him guilty of corruption in rigging a decision firing a PNP major from service; and Mark Jalandoni III, deputy ombudsman for Luzon who resigned after receiving a “love letter” from the Malacanang,  to answer the complaint lodged against him for grave misconduct and usurpation of authority and official function.  (The officer ordered fired by Gonzalez III, later in desperation took a busload of HongKong tourists hostage, nine of them killed in a subsequent rescue attempt.)

Remember the infamous “Capitol Siege” of January 17, 2007, when heavily armed PNP rangers assaulted the Iloilo Provincial Capitol to flush out three elective officials led by then Gov. Niel D. Tupas, Sr., according to Atty. Rene Villa, now chair of the Light Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) – it was Mark Jalandoni, a fellow Ilonggo, who penned the idiotic decision and persuaded his boss (or much more than that, if you know what I mean) Merci to affix her signature on it. Luckily, Tupas et al emerged victorious from the battle: the Court of Appeal issued a TRO against GMA and cabal.

Merci tried to save face by sending the following morning a phalanx of big wigs led by overall deputy ombudsman Orlando Casimiro and Virginia Palanca-Santiago (misranked “assistant ombudsman for the Visayas”, a non-existent post in RA 6770) “to investigate”. Until today, neither Casimiro nor Santiago rendered a report. It was a useless trip, a costly one at that where people’s money was expended to pay for the travel and food of a team of riffraffs. Right before the start of  the investigation, we already smelled it as a farce. The first words spewed by Casimiro and Santiago were classical idiotics – they told reporters they were checking the veracity that Tupas et al committed sedition and whether or not the assaulting team did an overkill.

They are lawyers and all that they did was cover the obvious of blaming the victims instead of running after the culprits. The PNP assault company was armed to the teeth. The rangers used excessive force in slamming the back entrance glass doors with a sledgehammer. The occupants of the capitol were unarmed civilians and defenseless against them.

All signs of an overkill were writ all over; all signs of  helplessness of Tupas and his civilian supporters—all unarmed—were writ all over to debunk the sedition yarn of Casimiro and Palanca-Santiago.

Atty. Ma. Sonette Daguita now heads the Ombudsman office in Region 6 replacing Palanca-Santiago who I tag in past columns “embalmed version of Mommy Dionisia, a moral pygmy whose sense of right and wrong is as revolting as her looks.”  The latter wants to retire early but pending administrative suits block her. That’s according to her victim, former Gov. Tupas, Sr.

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