Press Release
May 10, 2006


Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Q. Pimentel, Jr. (PDP-Laban) today expressed the belief that the adverse rulings of the Supreme Court on three controversial edicts of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo -- Executive Order 464, calibrated pre-emptive response (CPR) policy and Proclamation 1017 -- in which the tribunal castigated her abuse of executive powers -- could be a ground for impeachment against her.

However, Pimentel said another attempt to impeach the President is unlikely to prosper because she is expected again to use the vast resources at her disposal to bribe or harass congressmen and dissuade them from signing the impeachment resolution -- the same tactic she used in foiling ouster moves against her last year.

He said it was very clear that the President received a stinging rebuke for stepping beyond her powers when the high tribunal adjudged as unconstitutional the ban she imposed on officials of the executive branch from appearing in congressional inquiries without her clearance under EO 464; her CPR policy that allowed law enforcers to break up even peaceful rallies; and measures related to EO 1017 which placed the country under a state of national emergency.

Unequivocally, the Supreme Court declared that the President was wrong on the three issues. Wrong because it was unconstitutional. And unconstitutional acts constitute impeachable offenses, the minority leader said.

Pimentel said he will not discourage opposition congressmen from going ahead with their plan to file new impeachment charges against the President although he is apprehensive that it may suffer the same fate as the first impeachment case against the President last year which was thrown out on mere technical ground by the Presidents legislative minions who control the House of Representatives.

I am not optimistic that a second impeachment case against the President will succeed. I fear that we will see a repetition of the buying of votes of congressmen that will seal the fate of the impeachment case. They will again make a mockery of the process through the use of money, he said.

The lone senator from Mindanao maintained that the most acceptable option is for President Arroyo to resign for having lost her credibility and moral authority to govern, as well as the support and respect of the people.

Pimentel praised the 15-man Supreme Court, under Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban, for demonstrating their independence from Malacañang and resolving the three fundamental issues on the basis of the provisions of the 1987 Constitution and the rule of law.

Although most of the SC justices were appointees of President Arroyo, he said they did not allow their judgment to be influenced by their debt of gratitude to the appointing authority.

And because of these praiseworthy decisions, the faith of the people in the Supreme Court has been restored and strengthened. Now they know that they can rely on the Supreme Court -- as the last arbiter of justice -- to ensure a fair and equitable interpretation and application of the laws especially in the face of the misdeeds and abusive acts of the Arroyo government, he said.

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