Senators belie constitutional crisis

Senators belie constitutional crisis

Senators on Thursday contradict speculations that a constitutional crisis is brewing as a result of the impeachment of the Chief Justice.

Senate Minority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano said the verbal clash between President Benigno S. Aquino III and Chief Justice Renato C. Corona show proof that the country’s constitutional process is alive and that democracy and the Supreme Court (SC) may come out stronger.

Cayetano said a constitutional crisis will occur if, in the event of a conflict between branches of the government, the Constitution does not clearly state how the situation will be resolved. He added that with the impeachment process, the system is really working.

Sen. Gregorio B. Honasan II shares a similar view, saying that Philippine democracy and the SC will be stronger after overcoming the painful experience of impeaching the Chief Justice.

In the meantime, Sen. Edgardo Angara urged senator-judges to still look into the possibility of mediating between the contending parties in the trial to allay the political tension. The Senate he said stressed should first explore areas of reconciliation.

Meanwhile, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima branded Corona as a walking constitutional violation and a usurper to the Office of the Chief Justice, calling him the ‘Hello Garci’ of the judicial department.

In Malacañang, the President turned the tables on Corona and accused him of dictatorial tendencies in past decisions of the SC. Aquino claimed it was actually Corona who has been dictating on the High Tribunal to change previous rulings to suit his interests.

For his part, Corona said he will not go on leave as head of the country’s judiciary despite the prodding of Malacañang for him to do so.