Press Release
November 25, 2006


Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Nene Q. Pimentel, Jr. (PDP-Laban) today said the threat of administration henchmen to impeach Supreme Court Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban and Associate Justice Antonio Carpio is nothing but a crude attempt to blackmail them and other members of the tribunal to reverse its Oct. 25 decision dismissing the petition to amend the Constitution by peoples initiative.

The pro-Charter Change Sulongbayan Movement announced that it will file the impeachment complaint against Panganiban and Carpio for their alleged bias against the petition lodged by the Sigaw ng Bayan and Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines (ULAP) which the high court rejected by an 8-7 vote.

But Pimentel branded the Sulongbayans move as ridiculous since the two justices committed no offense that would warrant their impeachment as constitutional officials.

They want to punish Chief Justice Panganiban and Justice Carpio for no valid reason at all, except perhaps to get back at them for turning down the petition of Sigaw ng Bayan and Ulap. The minority leader said.

Pimentel said there is no indication at all that Panganiban and Carpio have been bribed by oppositors of the petition to render an unfavorable ruling or that there was malice in their decision.

In fact, they came up with their judgment on the basis of what the Constitution and pertinent laws prescribe on the issue of amending the Charter by peoples initiative. That is what guided them in their decision to dismiss the petition, he said.

Pimentel said it is the right and discretion of members of the Supreme Court to decide on the petition and nobody can dictate on them to favor or reject any position.

He said what makes the Sulongbayans impeachment threat look farcical is why they are singling out Panganiban and Carpio as objects of their vengeful act when eight SC justices in all voted to dismiss the Sigaw ng Bayan-ULAP petition.

Pimentel said it would be a mockery of the system of justice if members of the judiciary will be threatened with impeachment every time they render decisions on constitutional issues that do not please certain parties.

He also reminded Malacañang and its political henchmen that since Chief Justice Panganiban is due to retire on Dec. 7, any impeachment case against him will be rendered moot and academic and therefore useless even before the impeachment process can start.

The opposition legislator also warned that impulsive and reckless attempts to harass and humiliate the justices would only boomerang on the proponents of Charter Change.

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