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GUTIERREZ, Petitioner, versus THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES COMMITTEE ON JUSTICE, RISA HONTIVEROS-BARAQUEL, DANILO D. LIM, FELIPE PESTAÑO, EVELYN PESTAÑO, RENATO M. REYES, JR., SECRETARY GENERAL OF BAGONG ALYANSANG MAKABAYAN (BAYAN); MOTHER MARY JOHN MANANZAN, CO-CHAIRPERSON OF PAGBABAGO; DANILO RAMOS, SECRETARYGENERAL OF KILUSANG MAGBUBUKID NG PILIPINAS (KMP); ATTY. EDRE OLALIA, ACTING SECRETARY GENERAL OF THE NATIONAL UNION OF PEOPLE’S LAWYERS (NUPL); FERDINAND R. GAITE, CHAIRPERSON, CONFEDERATION FOR UNITY, RECOGNITION AND ADVANCEMENT OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES (COURAGE); AND JAMES TERRY RIDON OF THE LEAGUE OF FILIPINO STUDENTS (LFS), Respondents. FELICIANO BELMONTE, JR., Respondent-Intervenor. Promulgated on February 15, 2011 x--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------x
CONCURRING AND DISSENTING OPINION
DEL CASTILLO, J.:
The law embodies the story of a nation's development through many centuries, and it cannot be dealt with as if it contained only the axioms and corollaries of a book of mathematics. In order to know what it is, we must know what it has been, and what it tends to become. Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. The Common Law, Lecture 1 (1881)
Corona. Estrada against then Chief Justice Hilario G. Bellosillo. Renato C.At the heart of this controversy is the interpretation of the rule enshrined in Article XI. Justice Conchita Carpio Morales. Puno. but voted for the dismissal of the complaint for being insufficient in substance. The Court in Francisco faced this question: when a first impeachment complaint is filed against an impeachable officer. and then dismissed. Jr. Jose C. 2003 by former President Joseph E. Carpio. the filing of a second impeachment complaint was prohibited under paragraph 5. Mme. 3(5) of our Constitution. Sec. 2003 against Chief Justice Hilario G. Josue N. Panganiban. I do not agree that there may be multiple complaints embraced in only one impeachment proceeding. The first complaint was filed on June 2. may another impeachment complaint prosper? We said then that from the moment that the first complaint was referred to the proper committee. a second complaint was filed on October 23. it still served as a bar to a subsequent complaint within the same year. and Leonardo A. 830 (2003). The House of Representatives1 involved two impeachment complaints filed on separate occasions. section 3 of Article XI of the Constitution. Quisumbing. Davide. . Though the first impeachment complaint was found to be insufficient in substance. the first of which had been resolved long before the second complaint was filed. Subsequently. Recall that Francisco. Vitug. Davide. Reynato S. the Committee ruled that the complaint was sufficient in form.. and Associate Justices Artemio V. accompanied by the endorsement of at least onethird (1/3) of all the Members of the House of Representatives. that “[n]o impeachment proceedings shall be initiated against the same official more than once within a period of one year. subsequently referred to the House Committee on Justice. Antonio T. Jr.” With due respect to my esteemed colleague. Jr. v. 1 460 Phil. Upon referral to the House Committee on Justice.
and declared that the second impeachment complaint filed against Chief Justice Davide was barred under paragraph 5. at 933. v. because the purposes of the one-year ban as enunciated by the framers of our Constitution – to prevent harassment of the impeachable officials and to allow the legislature to focus on its principal task of legislation4 – reveal that the consideration behind the one-year ban is time and not the number of complaints. Jr. The rule seems simple enough. Id. The House of Representatives (Azcuna. stated: . at 1053. “[o]nce an impeachment complaint has been initiated. in response to queries regarding the one-year limitation. Does it then follow that only one proceeding has been initiated? To put it differently. See Francisco. Justice Carpio Morales posits that multiple complaints within one proceeding are possible. But what of a case where two impeachment complaints are separately filed and then simultaneously referred to the Committee on Justice. Mr. id. citing the deliberations of the 1986 Constitutional Commission. Separate Opinion). section 3 of Article XI of the Constitution. is it possible to have two impeachment complaints but just one proceeding? Mme. and has since been readily applied. During said deliberations. by the filing by at least one-third of the members of the House of Representatives with the Secretary General of the House x x x”2 Thus.”3 It was on that basis that the Supreme Court invalidated Sections 16 and 17 of the Rules of Procedure in Impeachment Proceedings of the 12th Congress. at 932. Romulo. 2 3 4 Id. another impeachment complaint may not be filed against the same official within a one year period.The Court ruled that “initiation [of an impeachment proceeding] takes place by the act of filing and referral or endorsement of the impeachment complaint to the House Committee on Justice or.
Romulo. Tinio and De Jesus filed on August 3. in this case. Casiño. it does not appear to be entirely accurate that both complaints were simultaneously referred to the Committee on Justice. Felipe Pestaño. Mr. And if we allow multiple impeachment charges on the same individual to take place. even assuming that there was simultaneous referral. Merceditas Navarro-Gutierrez filed by Mr. Second. Used here to refer to the Verified Complaint for the Impeachment of Ombudsman Ma. available online at http://www. and Ms. Mariano. which were referred to the appropriate Committees hereunder indicated: xxxx ADDITIONAL REFERENCE OF BUSINESS Verified complaint for the Impeachment of Ombudsman Ma. Mr. Mary John Mananzan. and the Chair directed the Secretary General to read the following House Bills and Resolutions on First Reading. Impeachment proceedings take a lot of time. Risa Hontiveros-Baraquel. August 11. Evelyn Pestaño with the Resolutions of Endorsement filed by Representatives Bag-ao and Bello filed on July 22. I cannot find any reasonable justification for the conclusion that there can be multiple complaints in one proceeding. the legislature will do nothing else but that. are of the highest category from harassment but also to allow the legislative body to do its work which is lawmaking.Unfortunately. as shown in the Congressional records. an impeachment proceeding had already been initiated. Danilo Ramos and Atty. 9. Merceditas Navarro-Gutierrez filed by Ms.ph/download/journals_15/J09. Used here to refer to the Verified Complaint for the Impeachment of Ombudsman Ma. I posit this view for two reasons: first. the intention here really is to limit. 2010. 2010. House of Representatives (15th Congress of the Philippines). Renato Reyes.congress. Evelyn Pestano with the Resolutions of Endorsement filed by Representatives Bag-ao and Bello TO THE COMMITTEE ON JUSTICE 5 6 7 . REFERENCE OF BUSINESS On motion of Rep. so as to bar any further proceedings on the Second Complaint. Edre Olalia with the Resolutions of Endorsement filed by Representatives Colmenares. Risa Hontiveros-Baraquel. Danilo Lim.gov. Mr. while we are in agreement as to the reckoning point of initiation. 2010. Danilo Lim. 2010 Oral MR. and Ms. Mo.pdf. Ilagan.6 As regards the simultaneous referral. ROMULO: Yes. upon referral of the First Complaint5 to the Committee. Mr.7 and acknowledged by counsel for the respondents during the October 12. Felipe Pestano. Mr. Merceditas Navarro-Gutierrez filed by Ms. This is not only to protect public officials who. the Body proceeded to the Reference of Business. Journal No.
set or. 2010. rather. if this Court should decide not to revisit Francisco. Edre Olalia with the Resolutions of Endorsement filed by Representatives Colmenares. 2010. Mo. Casiño. Volume 1. each complaint was read separately by the Secretary General and individually referred to the Committee on Justice by the Chair.” 8 The TSN of the Oral Arguments before this Court dated October 12. No. strictly speaking. and not only that. Justice Antonio Eduardo Nachura). the Congressional Record of the Plenary Proceedings of the 15 Congress. Wednesday. p.8 Thus there was.Arguments (interpellation of Mr. Justice Mendoza: Associate Justice Nachura: Ret. August 11. if Your Honor please. . Verified complaint for the Impeachment of Ombudsman Ma. Renato Reyes.ph/download/congrec/15th/1st/15C_1RS-09081110. 576) th See also. pages 146-150 states: Ah. it appears that during the House plenary session on August 11. after the first complaint shall have been referred? [Thus] the second complaint that will now be [infirm] and barred by Francisco. If you look just at the Order of Business listed the first complaint filed by Risa Hontiveros-Baraquiel and three others ahead of the second complaint.gov. Ret. available online at http://www. and the Deputy Speaker made the corresponding references. Mary John Mananzan. for the simple reason that in the proceedings of the (interrupted) House . Eleven … 2010. [is it] the second complaint that is [infirm] if the second complaint is referred [to] the House Committee. Tinio and De Jesus TO THE COMMITTEE ON JUSTICE (Rollo. Merceditas Navarro-Gutierrez filed by Mr. one final thing. Justice Mendoza: Associate Justice Nachura: Ret. The records indicate that “[t]he Secretary General read the following House Bills and Resolutions on First Reading. shows after reading the (interrupted) Order of Business Associate Justice Nachura: Ret. 2010. House. it would be the second complaint (interrupted) The second complaint (interrupted) That would have [to] be dropped. 9. First Regular Session. Mr. on August 11 (interrupted). Danilo Ramos and Atty. Justice Mendoza: Yes with particular reference to the facts of this case. a Associate Justice Nachura: question I asked Assistant Solicitor General Laragan is that. . no simultaneous referral. Mariano. Ilagan.congress.pdf. when there are two complaints. Justice Mendoza: Associate Justice Nachura: . the Order of Business.
ah. indeed. because the House in plenary would have acted on each individual complaint in the Order of Business separately. any procedural means for seeking redress from a tribunal or agency.No doubt this Court should be more concerned with overarching principles rather than the ephemeral passing of minutes or seconds. it would be no less true that the filing and referral of each individual impeachment complaint amounts to the initiation of two separate impeachment proceedings. and then the Speaker said to the Committee on Justice accompanied or followed by the banging of the gavel to signify the action of the Chair. Justice Mendoza: Associate Justice Nachura: Ret. . That . read afterward. 2009) (available online at www. an act or step that is part of a larger action. The word “proceeding” has been defined as “the regular and orderly progression of a lawsuit. to the exact minute and the exact second. minute and seconds of what is done. Justice Mendoza: Associate Justice Nachura: Ret.”9 This is in contradistinction with a Ret. simultaneous referral. And the referral technically could not have happened at the same time.westlaw.that is what? But – But that’s not [a] concern and I am sure that this Court did not intend that when it wrote the Francisco ruling. including all acts and events between the time of commencement and the entry of judgment. Justice Mendoza: … title of the complaint. Ah. then I would say just looking at these. that it would not [have] been possible to say that both complaints were referred at the same time. And so if we were to x x x apply Francisco very strictly the second complaint would be barred. that there are time difference between the action taken here in referring the first complaint and the action taken in referring the second complaint which was similarly. not only our second. Yes. refer it to the Committee on Justice accompanied by the banging of the gavel. But even if we were to assume that there was. that is precisely what I asked Assistant Solicitor General Laragan. Justice Mendoza: 9 Black's Law Dictionary (9th ed. this is the action taken by the Speaker. so that if we have to be (interrupted) Technical Concerned with. Associate Justice Nachura: Ret.com).
adopting the explanation of Fr. . In all respects.”10 In Francisco. To summarize: First Complaint 12 July 22. In fact. x 11 xx Here.“complaint. (2) there is the processing of this complaint by the proper Committee which may either reject the complaint or uphold it. the basis for the plaintiff's claim. Rollo. and the demand for relief. the resolution must be forwarded to the House for further processing.J. S. and the petitioner was required to answer both complaints. Supra note 1 at 931. 91. Bernas. 2010 Date of Filing 10 11 12 13 Id. Id. p. (3) whether the resolution of the Committee rejects or upholds the complaint. this Court stated that the impeachment “proceeding” consists of the following steps: (1) there is the filing of a verified complaint either by a Member of the House of Representatives or by a private citizen endorsed by a Member of the House of the Representatives. referred to the Speaker of the House. at 133. there were two proceedings. included in the Order of Business. referred to the House Committee on Justice. and separately considered by the Committee.” which is “[t]he initial pleading that starts a[n] x x x action and states the basis for the court's jurisdiction. Joaquin G. both the First and Second Complaint separately went through these steps – they were filed. 2010 Second Complaint 13 August 3. and (4) there is the processing of the same complaint by the House of Representatives which either affirms a favorable resolution of the Committee or overrides a contrary resolution by a vote of one-third of all the members. the records bear out that each individual complaint was separately scrutinized to determine whether each was sufficient in form and substance.
the delay and failure in Ombudsman from 2008 prosecuting those involved in onwards the Fertilizer Fund Scam 2. Mother Mary John Lim. Bello Teodoro Casino. regulations on taking out of Arroyo with regard to the the country currency in excess NBN-ZTE Broadband of US$10. Jose Miguel T. delay in conducting and Philippine Bureau of Customs concluding the investigation on the death of Ensign Philip Culpable Violation of the Andrew Pestano Constitution 4. Danilo Renato Reyes. repeated delays and failure to take action on cases impressed with public interest 2. Antonio Tinio. Atty. Representatives Neri Javier Endorsers from the AKBAYAN House of Hon. Danilo Ramos. Arlene Bag-ao and Walden Colmenares. Rafael Mariano. the failure to prosecute “Euro immediate action re former General” PNP Director Eliseo President Arroyo and her de la Paz for violating BSP husband. the delay or inaction in legality of the arrest and conducting the investigations detention of Rep. failure to conduct an Supreme Court in Information investigation into the Technology Foundation of the PhP1. Felipe Pestaño. and Evelyn Mananzan. Luzviminda Representatives Ilagan. v. De Jesus Grounds raised Betrayal of Public Trust Betrayal of Public Trust 1. refusal to grant access to public records such as the Statement of Assets Liabilities and Net Worth .000 without Project declaring the funds to the 3.000. and Emeranciana A. Cirque in New York COMELEC.000. et al. et al. Ferdinand Gaite. failure to take prompt and 2. decision upholding the 1.000. Pestaño Edre Olalio. Risa and filing criminal cases Hontiveros-Baraquel by the against responsible Philippine National Police in COMELEC officials pursuant 2006 to the directive given by the 5.00 dinner at Le Philippines. and James Terry Ridon Representatives Hon. Complainants Culpable Violation of the Constitution 1.Risa Hontiveros-Baraquel. dismal conviction rate of the 1.
The motion was duly seconded. 2010. . the complaints have been treated in separate proceedings. Id. x x x xxxx With 39 votes in favor and 1 against. 2010 14 16 August 4. 9:30 AM (Id. at 563. been treated separately by the House. In fact. the Chair declared the first impeachment complaint filed by Risa Hontiveros-Baraquel as sufficient in form. 14 against 41 in favor. Wednesday. 2010 August 9. 1 against 31 in favor. at 562. in all respects. provide: xxxx Rep. 2010) July 27. 2010 15 17 August 2. Id. 9 against 41 in favor. 2010 August 11. the Minutes of the Meeting of the Committee on Justice held on September 1. and each stands alone.18 14 15 16 17 18 Id. as indicated by the fact that there was no identity in the votes received by each complaint. 16 against These two complaints have. at 561. Fariñas then moved to declare the first impeachment complaint filed [sic] Risa HontiverosBaraquel as sufficient in form. 2010) Results of vote on whether or not the Complaint was sufficient in substance (September 7.Transmittal to the Speaker of the House Directive regarding inclusion in the Order of Business Referral by the Speaker of the House to the Committee on Justice Results of Vote on whether or not the complaint was Sufficient in Form (September 1. Id. 2010 39 in favor. at 564 On the question of sufficiency in form. 2010 August 11. at 76-82).
(Id. In Shakespeare’s immortal words. “what’s done is done. Even if the Clerk of Court refers two complaints to the same branch at exactly the same time. but a candle. The motion was duly seconded. Tuesday. the Chairman declared the impeachment complaint filed by Reyes. et al. 9:30 AM (Id. scene 2. the other may feed the flame. et al sufficient in substance.”19 In truth. 2010. and referral may ignite the wick. With 31 members in favor of the motion and 9 members against. this does not detract from the fact that two proceedings have been initiated. sufficient in form. only one matchstick will cause the candle to melt. line 12. . stays lit. and with forty-one (41) members in favor and only fourteen (14) against. each matchstick ignites a separate candle. Fariñas repeated his previous motion to find the Hontiveros complaint sufficient in substance. The Chairman proceeded with the voting on the motion. x x x (Id. Rep. which was duly seconded by Rep. different parties may prepare their initiatory complaints and file them in court. each matchstick is a separate impeachment complaint. and one (1) refusal to vote. sufficient in substance. Just like in a regular lawsuit. at 560) xxxx With forty one (41) votes in favor of the motion. The Clerk of Court then refers the complaints to the branch for appropriate action.To use the analogy of the candle. once lit. and sixteen (16) against. the Chairman declared the impeachment complaint of Hontiveros. But perhaps we need not venture so far for an analogy. et al. Fariñas then made a motion to find the impeachment complaint filed by Reyes. But in reality. at 555-560). et al. 19 Macbeth. particularly Rep. the Minutes of the Meeting of the Committee on Justice held on September 7. at 80-81) On the question of sufficiency in substance. Casiño also moved that the Committee likewise vote to declare the second complaint file [sic] by Mr. Renato Reyes. provide: xxxx Thereafter Rep. Remulla. sufficient in substance. because separate and distinct proceedings are contemplated. the second matchstick becomes superfluous. the motion to declare the second impeachment complaint sufficient in form was carried. act 3.
”21 Particularly. no other proceeding could be initiated against the petitioner. As such. the House Committee on Justice should be allowed to proceed with its hearing on the First Complaint. though the Second Complaint is barred by Section 3(5) of the Constitution. notwithstanding simultaneous referral. the filing and referral of the First Complaint against the petitioner precluded the Committee on Justice from taking cognizance of the Second Complaint. This protection granted by the Constitution cannot be waved away merely by reference to the “layers of protection for an impeachable officer” and the likelihood that the number of complaints may be reduced during hearings before the Committee on Justice. Madison. I believe the Members of this Court are well aware of the tension here between the clamor for public accountability and claims of judicial overreach vis-à-vis the demand that governmental action be exercised only within Constitutional limits. 137. And though the branch may hear the two complaints in one hearing. we cannot shirk from our duty to “say what the law is. our work here has been called unjustifiable arrogance by an unelected minority who condescends to supplant its will for that of the sovereign people and its elected representatives. In fact. then 20 The phrase “counter-majoritarian difficulty” as an issue in constitutional law theory is widely attributed to Alexander Bickel’s 1962 book entitled THE LEAST DANGEROUS BRANCH: THE SUPREME COURT AT THE BAR OF POLITICS. as a nation. 1803 WL 893.where each complaint alleges different causes of action. try as we might. To summarize. 177 (1803). 5 U. filed and referred to the Committee on Justice. that is to say. once the First Complaint was initiated.20 Nonetheless. However. if one conceives of the law as both the reflection of society’s most cherished values as well as the means by which we. the two proceedings remain separate and distinct. secure those values.S. Marbury v. 21 .
I vote that: (1) the status quo ante order should be LIFTED. However. MARIANO C. proceedings on the Second Complaint are barred by Section 3(5).this Court can do no less than ensure that any impeachment proceedings stand on unassailable legal ground. DEL CASTILLO Associate Justice . lest the provisions of our fundamental law be used to work an evil which may not be fully measured from where we stand. ACCORDINGLY. and (2) the proceedings on the First Impeachment Complaint should be allowed to continue. Article XI of the Constitution.
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