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BY JOSEPHUS JIMENEZ: CAN THE OMBUDSMAN DISMISS A SENATOR?


NOVEMBER 23 -By Atty. Josephus B. Jimenez If I were the bar examiner in political Law or in remedial law in the ongoing bar examinations, I would perhaps ask this question of whether or not existing laws and jurisprudence are clear on the grant of legal powers on the part of the ombudsman to remove a duly-elected senator from his office. The constitutional provision as well as the organic law that created this office must be studied carefully by our country's leading legal scholars and luminaries. The people should be informed on the scope as well as limits of the powers of the ombudsman. May a senator, and for that matter, a congressman, be legally removed from office even before they are heard? What happens if the Senate President or the Speaker of the House would refuse to implement the dismissal order? Could the ombudsman compulsorily enforce its order, and if so, how would it proceed to do so? Could it order its sheriff or bailiff to barge into the Senate or the House in plenary sessions, and physically remove a senator from those august bodies? Would that scenario not constitute a constitutional crisis? Well, we have all the respect for the ombudsman, especially the incumbent, who is a retired senior Supreme Court Justice with impeccable credentials and unquestionable integrity. READ MORE...

ALSO: By Korina Sanchez - Resting in peace?
(The body of the late dictator may have been buried at the LNMB, but if it is finally resting in peace is another story).


NOVEMBER 23 -By Korina Sanchez
President Duterte blamed "jet lag" as the reason why he skipped the APEC gala dinner, as well as the traditional "family photo" where world leaders have their group photo taken, all dressed up in the host country's traditional attire. I remember when the annual APEC summit was held in the country last year. US President Barack Obama wore a barong Tagalog, along with other world leaders. Duterte's absence on both events did not sit well with former President Fidel Ramos, saying it was "his duty to be there at all times." He could have skipped the dinner, but not the traditional photo. Indeed, the photo would not have taken long to compose and take. Ramos also said that there are doctors on hand to treat any ailments. Jet lag is not exactly a life-threatening disease the last time I looked. Other world leaders coming from Asia like Japan and Europe would have also experienced jet lag, but were at all APEC events and functions. READ MORE...

ALSO By Josephus Jimenez - Let the dead rest in peace


NOVEMBER 23 -By Atty. Josephus B. Jimenez The recent hullaballoo related to the burial of the late president Ferdinand E. Marcos, to our mind, with all due respect, is nothing but vain attempts to reverse what legal luminaries would call a "fait accompli" or, to put it bluntly, an exercise in futility. Some public officials, including the vice president, a few senators, and a number of members of the House of Representatives have allowed themselves to be drawn by emotions and have opted to turn their backs to the rule of law. The Supreme Court, by a clear majority of 9-5-1, has already made a clear and categorical judgment. The burial of the mortal remains of FM should proceed in due course.And so, let the dead now rest in peace. READ MORE...

ALSO: By Bobit Avila - Sen. De Lima and narco-politics


NOVEMBER 25 -***It's the second straight day that I'm glued on ANC's Live Direct from the Congressional Hearing on the Illegal Drug Trade at the National Bilibid Prison. The other day, it was alleged drug lord Kerwin Espinosa who spoke to the committee. His testimony ran for a total of 9 hours. It was revealed, he met with then Department of Justice Secretary Leila De Lima in Baguio City, which is corroborated by a photo with the scretary and Kerwin's wife.. A photo for as long as it was not photo shopped can speak a thousand truths! To all this, Sen. De Lima called them as all lies. When everyone sings the truth, she is the only one shouting that they are all lies! Now she has besmirched greatly the reputation of the Philippine Senate! Never in the history of Philippine politics have we seen such a case. It makes me wonder what Sen. De Lima supporters now think about her. More so that she has also lied to them about her relationship with Ronnie Dayan? If we did a survey today, I'm sure the figures would show that a great majority of the Filipino people believe that it is Sen. De Lima telling us lies. Again, I would like to reiterate my call for Sen. Leila De Lima to immediately tender her resignation from the Senate as this case has damaged the very institution of the Senate. READ FROM THE BEGINNING...


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Can the Ombudsman dismiss a senator?


By Atty. Josephus B. Jimenez

MANILA, NOVEMBER 28, 2016 (THE FREEMAN)  WHAT MATTERS MOST By Atty. Josephus B. Jimenez (The Freeman) | Updated November 23, 2016 - If I were the bar examiner in political Law or in remedial law in the ongoing bar examinations, I would perhaps ask this question of whether or not existing laws and jurisprudence are clear on the grant of legal powers on the part of the ombudsman to remove a duly-elected senator from his office.

The constitutional provision as well as the organic law that created this office must be studied carefully by our country's leading legal scholars and luminaries. The people should be informed on the scope as well as limits of the powers of the ombudsman. May a senator, and for that matter, a congressman, be legally removed from office even before they are heard?

What happens if the Senate President or the Speaker of the House would refuse to implement the dismissal order? Could the ombudsman compulsorily enforce its order, and if so, how would it proceed to do so? Could it order its sheriff or bailiff to barge into the Senate or the House in plenary sessions, and physically remove a senator from those august bodies? Would that scenario not constitute a constitutional crisis? Well, we have all the respect for the ombudsman, especially the incumbent, who is a retired senior Supreme Court Justice with impeccable credentials and unquestionable integrity.

READ MORE...

The ombudsman has already caused the detention of no less than three then incumbent senators, namely Juan Ponce Enrile (albeit later released due to humanitarian reasons owing to old age and precarious health conditions), Jinggoy Estrada, and Ramon "Bong" Revilla. The ombudsman also suspended Jinggoy's half brother, JV Ejercito, as well as a good number of congressmen and some governors and mayors, and other local officials. Now, the most contentious issue is the just announced dismissal of Senator Joel Villanueva. For sure, the camp of Mr. Tesdaman will most probably question such ombudsman order before the Supreme Court on the probable ground of grave abuse of discretion.

The ombudsman, of course, would defend its position and justify the exercise of its powers. It is expected that the legal minds in ombudsman's office must have thoroughly studied their justifications and legal basis. On the other hand, the lawyers in the Senate would most probably aver that only the Senate itself, voting in plenary, may decide to expel one of its members. The Senate may even go the extent of declaring that for any other offices in government to dismiss its members would be to unduly defeat the political mandate of the millions who voted the senators into office. Above all, the Senate may argue that no such dismissal should be allowed without a full-dressed trial before the Sandiganbayan.

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Our take on this is clear: Whilst the ombudsman may indeed be legally authorized to dismiss an incumbent senator, the exercise of such a draconian power should be done with great caution and extraordinary prudence. Perhaps a constitutional crisis can be avoided if the senator concerned, Joel Villanueva, being a man of God, should spare the Senate and Office of the Ombudsman from the highly controversial collision of forces, if and when he opts to tender his resignation. Not too long ago, Senator Migz Zubiri resigned when Koko Pimentel charged him of cheating. Perhaps, when the charges are filed against Senator de Lima, she might also consider such option. But that is another story. The ombudsman has tremendous powers. But she has to proceed with abundant caution.


Resting in peace? THAT DOES IT By Korina Sanchez (The Freeman) | Updated November 23, 2016 - 12:00am 0 1 googleplus0 0


By Korina Sanchez

President Duterte blamed "jet lag" as the reason why he skipped the APEC gala dinner, as well as the traditional "family photo" where world leaders have their group photo taken, all dressed up in the host country's traditional attire. I remember when the annual APEC summit was held in the country last year. US President Barack Obama wore a barong Tagalog, along with other world leaders. Duterte's absence on both events did not sit well with former President Fidel Ramos, saying it was "his duty to be there at all times." He could have skipped the dinner, but not the traditional photo. Indeed, the photo would not have taken long to compose and take. Ramos also said that there are doctors on hand to treat any ailments. Jet lag is not exactly a life-threatening disease the last time I looked. Other world leaders coming from Asia like Japan and Europe would have also experienced jet lag, but were at all APEC events and functions.

READ MORE...

Perhaps, it is because Duterte has accomplished what he wanted to do, which was to meet his idol, Russian President Vladimir Putin. In fact, he was able to talk to both Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping, which he now considers as friends. It only reinforces Duterte's wish of a "new world order" with China and Russia. According to Ramos, both the dinner and the photo shoot would have been a good opportunity for world leaders to informally talk among themselves a plethora of topics and issues. That was a missed opportunity on the part of Duterte.

Ramos did not waste time calling out the Duterte administration for the "blitzkrieg" burial of the late Ferdinand Marcos. Calling "a step backward for the Duterte administration" and an "insult to soldiers," Ramos pointed out the connivance of the Marcos family with some members of the AFP and the police. A Philippine Air Force helicopter was supposedly rented by the Marcos family to fly the body from Ilocos to Metro Manila. He was given a military funeral, complete with a 21-gun salute and a flag draped over the coffin. Ramos has joined the numerous critics of the burial, with protests along with several legal actions being planned to undo the burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

President Duterte's call for those affected by the late dictator's actions to move on has fallen on deaf ears. This is not at all helped by the Marcos family's continued refusal to acknowledge the wrongdoings of Martial Law and show remorse, even being defiant. Imee has gone on record to say that she was too young at the time of Martial Law, something totally refuted by Ramos. The body of the late dictator may have been buried at the LNMB, but if it is finally resting in peace is another story.


Let the dead rest in peace WHAT MATTERS MOST By Atty. Josephus B. Jimenez (The Freeman) | Updated November 22, 2016 - 12:00am 1 209 googleplus1 0


NOVEMBER 23 -By Atty. Josephus B. Jimenez The recent hullaballoo related to the burial of the late president Ferdinand E. Marcos, to our mind, with all due respect, is nothing but vain attempts to reverse what legal luminaries would call a "fait accompli" or, to put it bluntly, an exercise in futility. Some public officials, including the vice president, a few senators, and a number of members of the House of Representatives have allowed themselves to be drawn by emotions and have opted to turn their backs to the rule of law. The Supreme Court, by a clear majority of 9-5-1, has already made a clear and categorical judgment. The burial of the mortal remains of FM should proceed in due course.And so, let the dead now rest in peace.

READ MORE...

The oppositors have brandished some technicalities, saying that the decision is not yet final and executory, and that they were still poised to file a motion for reconsideration. The truth of the matter is that the Supreme Court has not issued a restraining order or a preliminary injunction against the burial. And so, we deem it unbecoming of some supposedly responsible officials to issue reckless statements that betray their lack of respect for the rule of law. The vice president called the burial an act of a thief in the night. And her LP acting president Senator Kiko Pangilinan incited the people to stage some massive concerted protest against the burial.

Congressman EdcelLagman and defeated senatorial bet Neri Colmenares claimed that there was a sinister conspiracy between the Marcos family and the military and the police. The anti-Marcos activists have blamed the military officials for supposedly keeping the public in the dark on the preparations for the burial. Senator Aquino joined the crowd and commented that there was an indecent haste in the implementation of the Supreme Court ruling. Well, our take on this is simple: It is better to have a speedy justice than to delay it, the same way that Hacienda Luisita has delayed for too long the implementation of the Supreme Court decision on the distribution of the land to the tenants.

Most, if not all of the students from UP, Ateneo, and Miriam College who staged a blitzkrieg demo against the FM burial, were not even born yet in 1972 when Martial Law was declared. They do not have personal knowledge of the facts that unfolded during the Martial Law regime. They are fighting against a theory, against what their elders told them. Many of them have not even attempted to fully study and analyze the circumstances. Lest we are misunderstood, we were also against Martial Law. We were the student leaders who were rounded up and asked to explain. But after two weeks of detention, we were released.

Assuming that Martial Law was a historical mistake, the fact remains that Marcos was a president, and the Libingan is also a burial place for presidents. If Marcos was not a hero, then let it be so. But it is not for Robredo, Pangilinan, Lagman,Colmenares,or Aquino, much less an Aquino, to make that judgment. It is for history to do so. Marcos was not an angel, I do agree. He made many mistakes and hurt many people. But who is completely clean among our politicos? After the highest court of the land has spoken and after the president has allowed the burial, we should all know how to respect the rule of law. This is not about Marcos. This is about ourselves as a nation of civilized people.


Sen. De Lima and narco-politics SHOOTING STRAIGHT By Bobit Avila (The Freeman) | Updated November 25, 2016 - 12:00am 1 27 googleplus0 0


By Bobit Avila

Yesterday, the infamous Maguindanao or Ampatuan Massacre where 58 persons with 32 media personalities were massacred celebrated its 7th anniversary. Again, this reminds us of the slowness of Justice in this country, despite the 30 years after the EDSA Revolt. Let me remind you that when the late Sen. Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino, Jr. was assassinated, our cries for justice were, "Justice for Ninoy, Justice for All!" Yet justice still eludes us today.

7 years later, including the full term of President Benigno "PNoy" Aquino III has passed and the victims are still begging for justice for their loved ones. Honestly, in my frustration, I didn't follow up anymore whatever excuses of alibi's or reasons why this case hasn't moved 7 years down the road because we know that lawyers purposely delay a case seeking to take advantage of the political situation. Perhaps this is why this case didn't move in all the 6-year term of Pres. PNoy Aquino. Now it has all but taken 7 years already with no light at the end of a dark tunnel in sight. So when will Justice be given to the victims of the Maguindanao Massacre?

***

It's the second straight day that I'm glued on ANC's Live Direct from the Congressional Hearing on the Illegal Drug Trade at the National Bilibid Prison. The other day, it was alleged drug lord Kerwin Espinosa who spoke to the committee. His testimony ran for a total of 9 hours. It was revealed, he met with then Department of Justice Secretary Leila De Lima in Baguio City, which is corroborated by a photo with the scretary and Kerwin's wife.. A photo for as long as it was not photo shopped can speak a thousand truths!

To all this, Sen. De Lima called them as all lies. When everyone sings the truth, she is the only one shouting that they are all lies! Now she has besmirched greatly the reputation of the Philippine Senate! Never in the history of Philippine politics have we seen such a case. It makes me wonder what Sen. De Lima supporters now think about her. More so that she has also lied to them about her relationship with Ronnie Dayan?

If we did a survey today, I'm sure the figures would show that a great majority of the Filipino people believe that it is Sen. De Lima telling us lies. Again, I would like to reiterate my call for Sen. Leila De Lima to immediately tender her resignation from the Senate as this case has damaged the very institution of the Senate.

OUSTER MOVE

Senate President Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel, Jr. should also begin to initiate moves to oust Sen. De Lima from the roster in the Senate for what we are seeing or hearing in these committee investigations is someone who became a senator courtesy of illicit drug money. This is truly a case of narco politics in the national level, and we should put a stop on this. This case has stained the reputation of the Philippine Senate.

Meanwhile during the testimony of Ronnie Dayan, he presented his daughter who showed her messages in her cellphone, asking Sen. De Lima what they should do now that he was being hunted by the police. Her advice was to avoid the hearing or run to the hills. My question is, "Can you use a text message for a case of obstruction of justice?"

TEXT MESSAGES

I texted my lawyer friend the same question and here is his reply to me, "De Lima is guilty at least of so many deception leakages. So many facts point to her detection anxiety and deception guilt. She is definitely hiding something. Congressional hearing is not a crime investigation or prosecution, but in aid of legislation. Maybe not obstruction of justice, but contempt or disrespect to the Congress.

But it may constitute indirect evidence of De Lima's guilt. Flight or suppression of evidence constitutes circumstantial evidence of guilt. But it must be corroborated by independent evidence, whether direct or circumstantial. Her outbursts, almost hysteria on occasion, her panic attack in the form of filing cases with yet very weak legal and factual (or evidentiary) bases or premises against her good judgment as a seasoned litigator, and her direct and indirect efforts to suppress evidence as well as to divert public eye, these are all classic examples of detection anxiety and deception guilt."

So in summary, what we saw in the last two days of the Senate and Congressional Hearings is that Ronnie Dayan validated the testimony of Kerwin Espinosa and that is vital to the case that the DoJ has filed against Sen. De Lima.

What we'd like to see is for the cogs of justice to begin rolling and this case goes to a proper court of law.

As for Sen. De Lima, her options are getting fewer and fewer. She can still resign and keep her dignity as a Filipina.

If she doesn't, she will come down in Philippine history as one of the most notorious woman in history!


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