Arroyo to solve Davide impeachment row

President Gloria Arroyo yesterday announced that she would personally intervene in the dispute between the Supreme Court and the House of Representatives in a desperate effort to seek a "principled solution" to the week-long stand off caused by the proposed impeachment of the country's top magistrate, Chief Justice Hilario Davide.

"There is a growing consensus that we have crossed a political threshold to the point wherein the president must step in and forge a principled solution to the impasse," Arroyo said yesterday in a speech before government postal workers.

In her statement, Arroyo outlined a proposed covenant to Supreme Court justices and to the more than 70 House members who voted to consider holding an impeachment trial for Davide.

Congressmen want Davide to undergo an impeachment trial based on accusations by Representative William Fuentebella, that the chief justice squandered hundreds of millions of pesos in funds on unnecessary projects, supposedly to be used to benefit high court employees.

Plans by the House of Representatives to push for the impeachment trial however, has been blocked by a Supreme Court decision released last week.

The High Court is contending that the case against Davide is illegal since the constitution does not allow officials to undergo impeachment proceedings more than once in a period of one year.

Prior to the passage of the case against Davide last week, House members turned down another impeachment complaint filed by former president Joseph Estrada against the chief justice and seven other high court magistrates for allegedly ruling illegally on the legitimacy of the Arroyo government in March 2001.

The High Court's move to block the impeachment trial, is being ignored by the House resulting in an impasse which has stalled the Davide impeachment proceeding and had caused lingering concerns over which branch of government has authority over the other.

Arroyo said that in order to end the impasse, she is proposing that both parties "respect the supreme welfare of the people; affirm co-equality, independence, but indispensable cooperation and harmony among the three branches of government; enforce the principles of checks and balances as an instrument of national unity and stability and not of partisanship." "The executive, legislative and judicial authorities must come together as trustees of the public interest and find a resolution to the controversy within the rule of law," she added.

"Everyone concerned will have to bend backwards a bit without sacrificing principles. I'm sure that right now a win-win solution is in sight," she added. The president said that she believed that her proposed five principles are leading "us along the road to a principled solution, and along the path to stability and political progress." Meanwhile, El Shadai, a lay Catholic charismatic group, said it has scheduled a reconciliation rally on Saturday, which will be attended by President Gloria Arroyo, former president Joseph Estrada, House Speaker Jose de Venecia, beleaguered Supreme Court Chief Justice Hilario Davide, and the congressmen who recently impeached the latter.

"We held private meetings with all of them and hopefully they will attend the reconciliation rally, said Mike Velarde, the El Shaddai leader.

04/11/2003

Bron : Gulf News

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