Impeached under the second method
DID the House of Representatives botched the filing of the impeachment case against Chief Justice Renato Corona when they did so before the Senate without subjecting it under the scrutiny of the Committee on Justice?
Under Article XI Sec. 3 of the 1987 Constitution, there are two ways to impeach an impeachable official like Corona.
The first method was provided for in the second and third paragraphs of Sec. 3 which says that: “…(2) A verified complaint for impeachment may be filed by any Member of the House of Representatives or by any citizen upon a resolution or endorsement by any Member thereof…The Committee, after hearing, and by a majority vote of all its Members, shall submit its report to the House…with the corresponding resolution. The resolution shall be calendared for consideration by the House… (3) A vote of at least one-third of all the Members of the House shall be necessary either to affirm a favorable resolution with the Articles of Impeachment of the Committee or override its contrary resolution…”
The second method, on the other hand, was stated in the fourth paragraph of the same section which states: “(4) In case the verified complaint or resolution of impeachment is filed by at least one-third of all the Members of the House, the same shall constitute the Articles of Impeachment, and the trial by the Senate shall forthwith proceed.”
The Lower House opted for the second method when it decided to impeach Corona hence the absence of a Justice Committee hearing and the subsequent floor votation.
It also explains why the impeachment complaint was filed with seeming haste before the Senate.
Is Congress under the obligation to observe due process in the filing and trial of the impeachment complaint?
Article III (The Bill of Rights), Section 1 of the Constitution states that: “No person shall be deprived of life, liberty and property without due process of law.”
Corona was not deprived of life, liberty and property when he was impeached and there is no possibility of losing any of the three rights even if later found guilty of the charges against him by the Impeachment Court.
What is at stake is his public office to which he has no vested right. Public office is not the property of a public official therefore Corona, strictly speaking, cannot claim the protection afforded in the Bill of Rights.
Nevertheless, former Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban was correct in saying that “due process is sourced not just from the Constitution. It is deeply ingrained in democracy; it is rooted in history and in the people’s inherent sense of justice and fair play.”
Panganiban explained that the Senate, which has the “sole power to try and decide all cases of impeachment,” adopts this immortalized idea of due process.
The Senate Rules gives ample opportunity for the impeached officials to be notified and heard, and to defend themselves before judgments are rendered against them
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