Culpable violation of the Charter

The ongoing impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona brings to the fore a parallel situation where all the justices of the Supreme Court may possibly be impeached for culpable violation of the Constitution.

Sometime in 2004, a group of lawyers filed before the Supreme Court a petition assailing the constitutionality and legality of the implementation by the legislative and executive departments of the Priority Development Assistance Fund outlay (“pork barrel”) in the General Appropriations Act for 2004. The petition specifically sought a judicial annulment of the implementation on constitutional grounds. It was given due course and submitted for decision in 2006. It has been pending since then and remains unresolved to date.

The pendency of the petition from 2006 to 2012, or a period of six years, is way beyond the reglamentary period of 24 months within which the Supreme Court must decide cases from date of submission  as mandated under Sec. 15 (1), Article VIII of the 1987 Constitution. The unexplained failure of the Court to decide the petition within the 24-month period is a clear violation of the Constitution.

The 1987 Constitution, specifically Section 15 (3) of Article VIII thereof, further enjoins that “[u]pon the expiration of the corresponding period, a certification to this effect signed by the Chief Justice or the presiding judge shall forthwith be issued and a copy thereof attached to the record of the case or matter, and served upon the parties. The certification shall state why a decision or resolution has not been rendered or issued within said period.” (emphasis mine) This mandatory provision has not been complied with at all. The required “certification” has not been issued “forthwith” or at any time thereafter by the Chief Justice.

What is more, “[d]espite the expiration of the applicable mandatory period, the court, without prejudice to such responsibility as may have been incurred in consequence thereof, shall decide or resolve the case or matter submitted thereto  for determination, without further delay.” (Section 15 [4], Article VIII, 1987 Constitution;  emphasis mine) No such decision has been rendered to date.

Sad to say, the inexplicable delay, nay, inaction of the Court in deciding the petition does violence to the constitutionally guaranteed right of the petitioners to a “speedy disposition” of their case. (Sec. 16, Art. III, 1987 Constitution)

It is lamentable that the cited mandatory provisions of the Constitution seem to be more honored in their breach, with impunity, than in their observance and are, thus, reduced to meaningless dead letter.

Now, I am constrained to ask: Are not all the justices of the Supreme Court impeachable for culpable violation of the Constitution? Should this happen, would not a vacuum in the judiciary be created that is destructive of the very framework of our government?


5431 Curie St.,

Palanan, Makati City

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Short URL: http://opinion.inquirer.net/?p=28123

Tags: chief justice renato corona , Constitution , corona impeachment , letters to the editor , opinion , Supreme Court

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94


  • DOH asks co-passengers of OFW carrier to test for MERS-CoV
  • ‘Shouldn’t we move?’ Ferry evacuation under scrutiny
  • 5.5-magnitude quake hits Sultan Kudarat
  • Passengers denied chance to escape sinking South Korea ferry
  • Firetruck rams California eatery; 15 injured
  • Sports

  • PH youth boxers off to stumbling start in AIBA World tilt
  • Durant has 42, Thunder beat Pistons 112-111
  • Walker leads Bobcats over Bulls in OT, 91-86
  • Man City slips further out of title contention
  • Federer would skip tennis to be with wife, newborn
  • Lifestyle

  • Pro visual artists, lensmen to judge Pagcor’s photo contest
  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • This is not just a farm
  • Clams and garlic, softshell crab risotto–not your usual seafood fare for Holy Week
  • Moist, extra-tender blueberry muffins
  • Entertainment

  • Will Arnett files for divorce from Amy Poehler
  • American rapper cuts own penis, jumps off building
  • Jay Z to bring Made in America music fest to LA
  • Why Lucky has not bought an engagement ring for Angel
  • Derek more private with new girlfriend
  • Business

  • Asia stocks fail to match Wall Street gains
  • Fired Yahoo exec gets $58M for 15 months of work
  • PH presses bid to keep rice import controls
  • PSEi continues to gain
  • Number of retrenched workers rose by 42% in ’13
  • Technology

  • DOF: Tagaytay, QC best at handling funds
  • Smart phone apps and sites perfect for the Holy Week
  • Tech company: Change passwords or suffer ‘Heartbleed’
  • Filling the digital talent gap
  • SSS to shut down website for Holy Week
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 17, 2014
  • A humbler Church
  • Deepest darkness
  • ‘Agnihotra’ for Earth’s health
  • It’s the Holy Week, time to think of others
  • Global Nation

  • Syria most dangerous country for journalists, PH 3rd—watchdog
  • Japan says visa-free entry still a plan
  • First Fil-Am elected to Sierra Madre, Calif. city council
  • UC Irvine cultural night to dramatize clash of values in immigrant family
  • Filipino sweets and info served at UC Berkeley Spring Fest
  • Marketplace