Accountability of public officers

By ARCHBISHOP OSCAR V. CRUZ
VIEWPOINTS

 “PUBLIC office is a public trust. Public officers and employees must at all times be accountable to the people, serve them with utmost responsibility, integrity, loyalty and efficiency, and act with patriotism and justice, and lead modest lives.” (Phil. Constitution, Art. XI, Sec. 1).

This provision of the Philippine Constitution appears to be something alien, irrelevant or unknown to a good number of local government officials, sounds to be a strange, odd or out of place particularly for the constituents of the ruling administration, and in effect wherefore seems to be a big bad joke at the expense of majority of the Filipinos. Integrity, justice, modest lives as some key attributions of public officials in this Country? These categorical and constitutional demands must be for other people of different race, color and creed — but not for Filipino self-serving public officers. It is not only false but also insulting and offensive to claim that the above constitutional provision applies to those governing the Philippines.

“The President, the Vice President, the Members of the Supreme Court, the Members of the Constitutional Commissions, and the Ombudsman may be removed from office, on impeachment for, and conviction of culpable violation of the Constitution, treason, bribery, graft and corruption, other high crimes, or betrayal of public trust…” ( Ibid. Section 2)

Bribery, graft and corruption and other high crimes — are these errant acts and actuations but merely political issues, simply partisan political gymnastics? Such transgressions, villainies and scandals are all radically premised on gross unethical factors basically caused by disgusting amoral value systems. To claim that such atrocities in government are simply political in nature and implications is to allege that the distinction between good and evil, between virtue and vice, are but a philosophical work-out, a funny exercise in futility.

“A vote of at least one-third of all the Members of the House shall be necessary either to affirm a favorable resolution with the articles of impeachment of the Committee, or override its contrary resolution. . .” (Ibid. Section 3, no. 3)

While the above provision clearly speaks of something numerical, this constitutional provision in no way makes any Impeachment Compliant a mere “numbers’ game.” The above norm simply provides the specific process on how to treat such Complaints for admission or dismissal. But, this merely procedural norm in no way makes an Impeachment Complaint but a “numbers’ game” as the members of the partisan majority block — specially in the present House who are big beneficiaries of Malacanang — delight in thinking and proud to proclaim.

Conclusion: When the reigning administration together with its much favored allies in the present House of Representatives claims and insists that an Impeachment Complaint is a mere matter of numerical count of those in favor and against it having its due course — such betrays their utter lack of conscience. And this revolting stance explains the dreadful present and the bleak future of this Country. What a rut the Filipinos are in!

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