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Impeachment is for accountability not for personal motives, lawyers say

Former Comelec chair Christian Monsod on Thursday said the process of impeachment should be used for accountability and not for autocracy.

"Impeachment for accountability or for autocracy? The short answer is of course accountability. That is why the impeachment process was liberalize... It's primary purpose as a remedial process to maintain constitutional government and not personal punishment," Monsod said during a forum held by the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP).

"This is serious business that should not be cheapened by other motives," added Monson, a member of the 1986 Constitutional Commission that framed the 1987 Constitution.

Monsod pointed out that the impeachment process is only a "part of a systemic situation."

"What happens is really up to us... Do we have 100 million problems or 100 million solutions? We cannot succeed in anything until we are... we agreed as a nation," he said.



For her part, lawyer-educator Dean Ma. Soledad Deriquito-Mawis echoed Monsod's statement, noting that "impeachment is the first step in a process that tries to remedy a wrong in governance."

"I totally agree... It has been said that the purpose of impeachment is not personal punishment but rather to maintain constitutional government through removal of an unfit official from a position," Deriquito-Mawis said.

Deriquito-Mawis said an impeachment process has the tendency to be "vulnerable to abuse."

"The conceitedly political character of the proceedings make ordinary people say that impeachment, at the end of the day, is simply a number's game. That is what makes impeachment process vulnerable to abuse," she said.

She also said impeachment is a "process of checks and balances."

These pronouncements came after the simultaneous filing of impeachment cases against government officials.

Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno is facing impeachment complaint for alleged culpable violation of the Constitution, corruption and other forms of higher crimes and betrayal of public trust, which was filed by lawyer Larry Gadon.

Meanwhile, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales is also expected to face impeachment complaints from various groups after President Rodrigo Duterte announced that he would file cases against the two high-ranking government officials.

On the other hand, the House of Representatives on Wednesday voted to impeach Commission on Elections (Comelec) chairman Andres Bautista, hours after he announced that he will resign by the end of the year. — RSJ, GMA News