Senator Kiko Pangilinan: SC should not interfere in the impeachment trial

February 9, 2012

Press Statement
February 9, 2012

The Supreme Court should not interfere in the impeachment trial because the Constitution gives the Senate the sole power to try and decide impeachment cases. It will also leave a bad taste in the mouth should they interfere because it may be perceived as an attempt of the Supreme Court to rescue the Chief Justice from being accountable to the public. The impeachment process as a constitutional mechanism to exact public accountability from the highest ranking officials of the land will be undermined by any interference from the SC.

We do not wish to ignore the Supreme Court, and to avoid this we urge the Supreme Court to respect the powers and prerogatives of the impeachment court by not stepping into the fray. Our position is that the rulings and decisions of the Senate as an impeachment court cannot be subject to judicial review. If the Senator-Judges err in the conduct of its proceedings, the correction of such error is not by way of judicial review, but by the sovereign will of the people–who can and ought to reject us at the polls if they believe that we committed errors in our judgment as Senator-Judges.

The SC’s image will be further tarnished if it prevents the Senate from doing its constitutional duty to try and decide the case against the Chief Justice. A TRO on the subpoena of dollar bank accounts may be perceived as a desperate attempt at shielding the Chief Justice from accountability and a move to suppress the truth. It will be damaging to the SC as an institution.