I spent last night and the entire morning till noon today listening to the speeches of the congressmen as they explained their votes on the Justice Committee recommendation to dismiss the amended Lozano complaint and the Lopez complaint under the one-year bar rule and the original Lozano complaint for lack of substance. I have really given the Opposition no chance at all to get this past the House Plenary. But I watched the show, and I must say I am pleased with what I’ve seen.
Cheez Escudero and Alan Cayetano did a fine job interpellating Congressman Villafuerte who looked really idiotic juggling those papers and making up excuses for bungled citations and cluttered reasoning. I still don’t know where Edcel Lagman got his silly doctrine that a complaint signed by a lawyer is already verified. Verification must show that verifier had the competence to know the facts he is verifying. As a matter of fact, the verification must state that the verifier knows the facts of his own personal knowledge. In the case of Lozano’s complaint, he cannot possible say that he knew the facts of the impeachment of his own personal knowledge, because the allegation of election fraud was based largely on the Garci Tapes. He did not have personal knowledge of the fact of cheating in the elections. So how can we say that just by signing the complaint, Atty. Lozano has already verified his complaint on the basis of his lawyer’s oath? Silly.
And this restrictive interpretation of the one year bar rule that the first complaint to be filed, even when Congress is not in session, bars all other impeachment complaints is the craziest idea I’ve ever heard. As my good friend Atty. Punzi said, it leaves the power to impeach the President to the receiving clerk, because the first complaint she receives in a year will be the only one considered for the year. I bet you after this episode we can expect Congressman Pichay to file an impeachment complaint against the President everyday, which ensures that the President will not be legitimately impeached in perpetuity. Crazy idea.
I must say some of the speeches moved me. Rep. Riza Hontiveros-Baraquel regretted that that Congress couldn’t be part of the process of reforming politics in the country. Rep. Rey Magtubo delivered a damning speech about his years in the house. Rep. Darlene Antonino Custodio made an early morning plea to the D.O.M.’s in the house “Can you feel our pain?” That made my hair stand. Dudut Jaworski's speech on the youth vote was noteworthy. And JDV revealed why the House had to kill the impeachment right there and then: the Senate cannot be trusted to give Arroyo a fair trial. Gotcha old man. That is the reason for all this farce. Why did you have to make Lagman and Villafuerte make a fool of themselves? Stop pretending that the Congress is bastion of reason, for the truth is it is the house of greed and self-interest. That much we already know.
But I’m proud of the young congressmen Cheez, Alan, Edmund Reyes, and Abaya. This fight is too big for them, so they lost it. But a good fight is also its own reward. Their time will come. I just hope that they won’t let the system get into them. For when the next Gloria Arroyo type becomes president and her dogs are too old to be around, we know we have these kids to hold the fort. Bravo.
Let’s hope that all those ugly, smelly (mga amoy lupa!), pot-bellied old-timers in the House who represent the worst of our politicians will retire soon.