Tuesday, October 28, 2003

A Pause, A break whateveryoumaycalllit

Dear Mouse, The country is running fever... impeachment fever caused by the virus "initiate". It seems the word initiate has acquired a different meaning in the Constitutional context. Excuse me mouse if I delve into this topic. I have no legaL EXPERTISE but let lme just blurt out to put on record that I did my part of condemning the arrogant act of the initiators of the initiated impeachment. Neal Cruz had a thorough discussion of the word initiate. Let me just copy the excerpt of his article before I give my ho: The result of the impeachment will hinge on the interpretation of one word: "initiate." What does it mean? Section 3 (5), Article XI of the 1987 Constitution states: "No impeachment proceedings shall be initiated against the same official more than once within a period of one year." Last June, former president Joseph Estrada filed an impeachment complaint against Davide and seven other justices in connection with the Supreme Court's decision recognizing then-vice president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as the legitimate president of the Philippines. The House committee on justice found the complaint sufficient in form but not in substance and voted on Oct. 22, 2003, to dismiss it. The new impeachment complaint against Davide was immediately filed, and it garnered more than the 76 votes (one-third of the House membership) necessary to impeach. This is unconstitutional, said some lawyers, because it is the second impeachment complaint filed against Davide within one year. No, said the congressmen. The Constitution says "initiated," not "filed." And only one impeachment complaint, the second one, has been "initiated." The first one was "filed" but not "initiated," the lawmakers said. Mere "filing" of a complaint does not "initiate" an impeachment complaint, they explained. Webster's New World Dictionary defines "initiate" as "to bring into practice or use; introduce by first doing or using; help to begin doing something..." The pertinent definition of the same dictionary for "file" is "to register" (an application, etc.); "to put (a legal document) on public record; to initiate (a divorce suit or other legal action)..." So was the first impeachment complaint "initiated" or not? If it was, then the second one is unconstitutional. It was not "initiated", said the congressmen. It was "filed" but not "initiated." Under House rules (and the Constitution authorized the House to make the impeachment rules), an impeachment complaint is not "initiated" until it is voted upon by the whole House and sent to the Senate. The first complaint was not voted upon by the whole House, only by the committee on justice. So only the second complaint, which was voted upon and got more than the required one-third vote of the House, has been "initiated," they said. But House rules cannot supersede the Constitution, said Davide in a television interview. He was a member of the Constitutional Convention that wrote the 1986 Constitution and the records will show that the framers meant "filing" and "initiation" as the same thing, he said. What do you think? This one word "initiate," believe it or not, can spell trouble for the whole nation. Methinks that the hoodlums in barong does not calll the impeachment INITIATED by a person, a group of persons other than the members of Congress. They are confusing the issue of the initiator and initiatiion. What does initiate mean anyway ? Webster gives the Pronunciation: i-'ni-shE-"At Sa akin, this initiation is nakaka ii nishe. The CAT


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