Prof. Tony La Viña: Misuse of Impeachment

Impeachment has been distorted in the Philippines- to replace policy debates or legal forums where differences in approaches to governance are litigated.

The point is – impeachment cannot be used as a tool to persecute or silence perceived political opponents or critics or to subject presidents or other officials to harassment for performing their duties. This can never be the intent of the framers of the Constitution.

In Rappler’s online column Thought Leaders (5th and 8th Sept. 2017), Professor Tony La Viña raises alarm bells on the way resort to impeachment proceedings is “replacing policy debates or legal forums as the place where differences in approaches to governance are litigated.” In his article titled “Misuse of Impeachment”, Educator La Viña, past Dean of the Ateneo School of Government, provides a lesson on the nature of impeachment as enunciated in the Constitution. As the ultimate remedy against impeachable officials in government he explains that “the impeachment process is essentially a political act” and the grounds are: culpable violation of the Constitution, treason, bribery, graft and corruption, other high crimes, or betrayal of public trust.

La Viña also made reference to his column “Eagle Eyes” in the Manila Standard (August 05, 2017 ) where he discussed the ground of “betrayal of public trust”.  He argued that the accusations against CJ Sereno do not rise to what the Constitution considers impeachable grounds; these “mostly touch on administrative matters, and not on the malfeasance of the Chief Justice.” He described the effort at impeaching her as a “fool’s errand, an attempt to do something that has no chance of success.”

Part I can be accessed at: https://www.rappler.com/thought-leaders/181047-misuse-impeachment?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=thought-leaders  

and Conclusion can be accessed at https://www.rappler.com/thought-leaders/181131-conclusion-misuse-impeachment

The complete article, “Impeachment as a fool’s errand” can be accessed at http://thestandard.com.ph/opinion/columns/eagle-eyes-by-tony-la-vina/243654/impeachment-as-a-fool-s-errand.html