Privilege Speech of Rep. Teddy Casiño
December 14, 2011
I rise on a matter of personal and collective privilege to clarify a news article that came out in today’s issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
The said article quotes me as saying that congressmen were clueless on the contents of the impeachment complaint and that we were prevented from reading the complaint prior to signing. The conclusion is that the complaint was signed by people who did not know what they were doing or getting into.
Mr. Speaker, the quotes attributed to me are accurate. However, they were made before the Majority caucus last Monday, during which time we still had no idea what the complaint would contain nor were given advanced copies of the same.
It was during the caucus at Andaya Hall that the complaint was presented and made available for viewing. After the caucus, the matter had become crystal clear. I, together with my colleagues in the Makabayan partylist bloc met separately and discussed, debated and finally decided to sign the complaint. I was no. 152 inthe list.
Siyam na taon po tayong nagtiis sa ilalim ng administrasyong Arroyo. Ginamit ng dating presidente ang Kongreso, ang Hudikatura, ang militar at ang COMELEC para gawing ang kanilang mga karumaldumal na gawain. Ang pagsisinungaling, pandaraya, pagnanakaw at pagpaslang ay isinagawa ng walang pakundangan ng mga taong dapat ay nagtataguyod ng katarungan, demokrasya, karapatang pantao at rule of law.
Ngayon ang dating pangulo at mga kasapakat niya ay pinapanagot sa kanilang mga krimen sa bayan. Pero lumalaban sila. At ngayon ginagamit nila ang lahat, pati ang Chief Justice na dating chief of staff, spokesperson at legal adviser ni Mrs. Arroyo bago siya binigyan ng midnight appointment sa kanyang kasalukuyang pusisyon.
For this we impeached the Chief Justice last Monday. We did it in the fastest way possible – by gathering at least 1/3 members of the House to stand as complainants. That is provided for in the Constitution and our Rules. It was swift, yes, but it was also fair, legal, and did not prejudice anyone’s rights. If it were not, I and my colleagues in the progressive party list bloc would not have signed the complaint.
I therefore resent any insinuations made by one of our colleagues that we were bamboozled into signing the complaint. That we signed this because we fear the non-release of our pork barrel. For those of us who did sign under duress, I suggest you withdraw your signatures.
Wala naman hong pilitan dito. If you don’t believe in the complaint, then don’t sign it. Huwag kayong magpapaniwala sa tsismis na ang pipirma mauuna ang release ng pork barrel at ang hindi pipirma walang pork barrel. Matanda na tayo para maniwala sa ganyang klaseng pambobola ng kapwa pulitiko. I should know, I have been here for 8 years. But really, if that’s what it takes to stand for your principles, then don’t whine about it. Huwag po tayong maging OA.
Impeachment is the manner in which we show the people that even the highest executive official, our constitutional commissioners, and yes, even the Gods in Padre Faura are always accountable to the people and cannot rise above them. This is not an attack on the Court by its enemies. This is an attack by the people’s elected representatives on those who would use the Court for evil, selfish ends.
We supported the impeachment complaint because Chief Justice Corona has to be held accountable for using his position not just to protect the former president from prosecution but to justify and legalize the many anti-people acts that she did when she was still president. The list is long – the NBN-ZTE contract, EO 464, Proclamation 1017 immediately comes to mind. And lately his vote on EO 1, the Truth Commission, and the TRO that would have allowed Mrs. Arroyo to leave the country to escape prosecution.
We supported the impeachment complaint because we believe that the Judiciary should be independent and not kowtow to the whims and caprice of the Executive. We do not want the Arroyo court to become an Aquino court. That is the last thing we want to do. We want the Supreme Court to be independent and to be the bastion of justice that it is supposed to be.
Thank you Mr. Speaker, my dear colleagues.#