Press Release
October 2, 2017

Drilon: Congress has sole power to investigate, prosecute impeachable officials

Senate Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon on Monday called for a "ceasefire" in the word war between the President and the Ombudsman, as he advised the president to just file an impeachment complaint against Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales if he is in possession of any evidence against her.

"The rhetoric and the word war between the president, on the one hand, and the ombudsman and the chief justice, on the other, will only leave us nowhere," Drilon said.

"We must keep in mind that the Constitution has enough safeguards to discipline and go after erring officials," he said.

If the President is in possession of any evidence against the alleged wrongdoing of Ombudsman Morales, he should initiate the filing of an impeachment complaint against her, according to Drilon.

"We should apply and follow the Constitution and the rule of law," underscored Drilon as he emphasized that the power to investigate and prosecute impeachable officers "exclusively lies in Congress."

"The power to investigate and prosecute impeachable officers such as the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and the Ombudsman lies solely in Congress through an impeachment," Drilon said.

Under Section 2, Article XI of the Constitution, 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, he cited.

"The President cannot exercise authority and influence over an independent body such as the Ombudsman, more so over a co-equal branch of government such as the judiciary. That is how our structure of government is contemplated under the constitution," Drilon said.

"The Congress can provide checks and balances with the executive, the judiciary and independent constitutional commissions but the constitution has likewise provided them sufficient power to be independent and isolated from pressure in order to effectively carry out their constitutional duties," Drilon concluded.

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