[Commented on the PCIJ Blog article "Only option is constitutional"]
October 25, 2005 @ 5:47 pm
If you were schooled or have resided in the Philippines, it will not escape you that ours is a democratic and a republican state as declared in the first sentence of Sec. 1 of Article II of the 1987 Constitution. Also, kindly bear in mind the tenor of the second sentence, which says: Sovereignty resides in the people and all government authority emanates from them.
In republican systems, there are generally two kinds of legislative power: the original and derivative. The former belongs to or possessed by the sovereign people. Whereas, the latter is that which has been delegated by the sovereign people to legislative bodies and is subordinate to the original power of the people. This is the kind of power vested in Congress ( Bernas’ Reviewer-Primer, 1997,p.213)
I am not a lawyer of course, but like you, I beg your kind indulgence to speak in terms of principles rather than invoke the letter of the law which any legal clerk can do. In any case, I will be the first to stand corrected and admit that I err in asserting that ALL of the people's will is delegated to congress and accept on the basis of your argument that only a subset of this constitutes the DERIVATIVE component of this power which is the power exercised by, say, the legislature.
Let's therefore limit the scope of this discussion to the power that the people delegated to Congress to represent the public in the officiation of the IMPEACHMENT proceedings a couple of months ago that, as we know now, yielded an UNPOPULAR outcome. I believe that in this instance, this power exercised during the course of the impeachment procedure constituted a DERIVATIVE legislative power, right? (just my interpretation of what you say above). In this case, because of what has been interpreted by many in the blogging community as a "gross misrepresentation of the will of the people" as a result of this procedure, we find a huge gap between the outcome of the exercise of DERIVATIVE legislative power and the ORIGINAL power of the people.
But then you also said that the DERIVATIVE power is "subordinate" to ORIGINAL power.
So my question to you is this:
WHAT is the LEGAL and/or CONSTITUTIONAL course of action in this case considering that we are faced with a situation where the public wants to re-assert the supremacy of ORGINAL power in the face of a "flawed" exercise of DERIVATIVE power?
Might I jump the gun and propose a multiple choice for you (feel free to ignore this if you feel that the choices are too limited)
(a) Street rallies that aim to force the President out of office (if there is in fact a legal basis for this kind of handover of power)
(b) Wait for the next congressional election and vote DIFFERENT representatives into office; representatives that, by virtue of the democratic electoral proces, can exercise the DERIVATIVE power granted to them in a way that serves the interests of the people who voted them into office.
(c) Wait 12 months for another opportunity to undertake YET ANOTHER impeachment proceeding.
In the true form of the lawyer-speak that abounds in our little archipelago nation, I remain,
Very truly yours,
Non-Atty Benign0 ESQ
(extra-smooth quality) :D
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