Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Minutes of Justice Committee Hearing and the Quezon Intervention

10.00 Roll call. 32 members of the Committee are present.

Rep. Defensor’s opening statement lays down the agenda for the hearing – to determine whether the De Venecia impeachment complaint is sufficient in substance and also to determine the status of the Sotto complaint and the Quezon intervention.

Rep. Golez interrupts Defensor’s opening statement on point of order. He questions why the committee chair is already stating his position on the complaint.

Reps. Garcia and Datumanong question Golez’ interruption.

Rep. Golez insists that the moment the chair hints his position, this compromises the proceedings’ “fairness” and “objectivity.”

Rep. Defensor continues his opening statement. He cites legal justification to uphold the one year ban rule. He says “the right to intervene is not an absolute right” and that the Quezon intervention is a totally disparate (pronounced ‘desperate’ by Defensor) from the De Venecia complaint filed on October 13.

Rep. Liza Maza brings up the inhibition of Rep. Villarosa from the proceedings.

Rep. Villarosa says she chooses not to inhibit herself.

Rep. Maza continues to question the continued participation of Rep. Villarosa on grounds of comprising the process the latter’s involvement in bribe distribution. Also, the latter might unduly influence her co-party (Kampi) colleagues in the committee.

Rep. Villarosa defends herself, saying Kampi members have independent judgment.

Rep. Domogan motions to dismiss the Sotto impeachment complain and the Quezon intervention.

Rep. Casiño insists that the Quezon intervention is not a separate complaint because it puts forward the same charges as the De Venecia complaint. The intervention also charges the President of the culpable violation of the constitution, but cites specifically the MOA-AD.

Further, Casiño says the complaint has not yet been sent to the Senate and therefore it should be allowed amendments. The committee should consider allowing ordinary people to participate in the process.

Rep. Barzaga says that while the law allows ordinary people to file impeachment cases, there should be some order as to how these proceedings are run. He insists that the Intervention should be considered a second, separate complaint.
Rep. Castro says the committee has no jurisdiction to entertain the Quezon intervention.

Rep. Maza on parliamentary inquiry says the she has only received the copy of the Sotto complaint and the intervention this morning. She questions why the chair seems well-versed in its contents.

Rep. Defensor: “You don’t have to read the whole document” [to determine its contents].

Rep. Mariano says it is premature to summarily dismiss the Quezon intervention. “Hindi ko po inaasahang may paunang-husga na ang committee chairman.” He says the constitution only prohibits multiple impeachment “proceedings.” The case can be considered one proceeding with multiple complaints.

Rep. Domogan quotes some legalese. He again insists on the dismissal of the intervention.

Rep. Casiño insists this is the first impeachment proceedings and the multiple complaints can be consolidated.

Rep. Raul Gonzales provides historical background on the amendment of impeachment rules. He says the 13th congress failed to liberalize the rules.

Rep. Maza wants Rep. Defensor to answer, when did the committee transmit the Quezon intervention document to committee members?

Rep. Defensor quickly replies Nov. 17

Rep. Maza says she wants it on record she only received the documents this morning. “Paano itatapon ang hindi pa nababasa?”

Rep. Barzaga picks up from Rep. Castro, the committee has no jurisdiction to decide on the three complaints.

Rep. Mariano says the motion to dismiss the Quezon intervention is out of order.

Rep. Datumanong says “We return the Sotto and Quezon complaints for violating Sec 3, Article 5 of the Constitution.”

Reps Garcia, Domogan and Lagman move the committee to vote.

The Quezon intervention is dismissed, 35 in favour and 4 against.

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