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Quo Vadis,


Quo Vadis, Philippines? Where to, Philippines? Where to indeed? A very realistic
question most asked by the anxious Filipinos of today who witness the daily struggles of
their countrymen, their lawmen and, of course, their President. Where exactly is the
Philippines headed to? To eternal poverty? To a parliamentary administration? To a
country tossed carelessly into the hands of another ineligible leader? With the E-Vat law’s
implementation date drawing nearer as prices soar higher than ever and rallies, protests
and strikes sprouting up all over the country demanding the resignation and/or
impeachment of their President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, whose own impeachment case
proceeding is still under constant debate and contemplation in the hands of her
Congressmen. The destination of the Philippines is unclear; we might as well be heading
blindly into the eye of an upcoming economical typhoon for all we know. But first, let us
recap the ongoing political events in our country.
As we all know, a few months ago the President was accused of poll fraud with
the emergence of a tape containing a wire tapped conversation between the President and
a Comelec official by the name of Virgilio Garcillano, thus attaining its popular nickname
of “Hello Garci” tape or cd’s which were soon to follow. We also know that the
President’s list of allies are shortly wearing thin after ex-President Corazon Aquino
shifted her support to FPJ’s widow, Susan Roces and the Church calling for her
resignation as well as all the other opposition groups in the Philippines. Everyone’s
arguing and quarreling, making over dramatic scenes and statements on radio, television
or on the television, which are disastrously increasing the headaches of our Filipino
leaders. But, so far, it seems Gloria still holds the ace card of this political game though
many doubt she would still hold her position for very long.
Now, with her impeachment trial ongoing and the plan of directing our
government towards parliamentary horizons underway, it seems the President surely has a
lot of burdens on her shoulders. What exactly is behind these two very distinct plans that
could certainly make its mark in Philippine history and change the very core of our
government and its people? That is what you, the reader, will discover as you peruse
through this second part of our detailed informative composition delving through the very
heart of our country’s top stories and latest updates concerning the government and our
President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
So, with the President battling political, social, economical, and all other aspects
of her dwindling country, this question still hangs over the head of the sailors of this
Philippine steamship as they watch their Captain try to steer away from the oncoming
storm whilst battling her mutinous crew. Quo Vadis, Philippines? Where to, Philippines?
Where to indeed?
B. Body


What is Impeachment?

Impeachment is the process of removing from office high government officials

charged of serious wrongdoing. As a process, impeachment is a formal inquiry aimed
ultimately at making public officers accountable to the people based on the principle that
public office is a public trust. In contrast, other public officers may be removed from
office through other means: recall, in case of elective local officials; expulsion, in case of
members of Congress; and criminal or administrative disciplinary proceedings, in case of
public officers in general. Impeachment is a mode of removing a special class of public
officers the procedure for which is particularly outlined in the Constitution itself.

The word “impeach” comes from the Middle English “empechen” which means “to
impede” or “to accuse” and the Latin “impedicare” which means “to entangle” or “to put
in fetters.” The person impeached is not necessarily adjudged guilty as impeachment
only means that he has been formally charged of an impeachable offense but his
innocence or guilt is determined in a trial.

Process of Impeachment

The right to impeach public officials is secured by the U.S. Constitution in Article
I, Sections 2 and 3, which discuss the procedure, and in Article II, Section 4, which
indicates the grounds for impeachment: "the President, Vice President, and all civil
officers of the United States shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and
conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors."

Removing an official from an office requires two steps:

(1) A formal accusation, or impeachment, by the House of Representatives, and

(2) A trial and conviction by the Senate. Impeachment requires a majority vote of the
House; conviction is more difficult, requiring a two-thirds vote by the Senate. The vice
president presides over the Senate proceedings in the case of all officials except the
president, whose trial is presided over by the chief justice of the Supreme Court. This is
because the vice president can hardly be considered a disinterested party—if his or her
boss is forced out of office he or she is next in line for the top job!

Since the Constitution does not describe the exact process for impeachment, these
procedures have evolved from experience. Today, the impeachment process begins if a
majority of members of the House of Representatives vote to authorize the House
Judiciary Committee to conduct an inquiry. After the committee conducts hearings and
examines evidence of alleged wrongdoing, the committee can vote to approve articles
(written charges) of impeachment. If a majority of the House of Representatives votes to
approve at least one article of impeachment, the case is referred to the Senate.

The presiding officer for the Senate trial—either the vice president or the chief
justice—administers an oath to the senators requiring them to act impartially as required
of jurors and judges in all court proceedings. The Senate convenes to hear the appointed
representatives from the House make the case for impeachment. In the two presidential
impeachment cases that have gone to a trial—those involving presidents Andrew Johnson
and Bill Clinton—the House of Representatives appointed representatives from the
Judiciary Committee to present the case for impeachment to the Senate. In turn, the
accused official and his or her representatives are allowed time to refute the charges in
oral arguments to the assembled senators. The Senate can call witnesses who may support
or refute the charges. The proceedings can be terminated at any time without a
determination of guilt or innocence if a majority of senators vote to end the trial. After all
of the evidence is heard and individual senators have made arguments for or against
removing the official, a vote is held on each of the articles of impeachment. If two-thirds
of the Senate votes to convict the official on any article of impeachment, he or she is
removed from office.

The Constitution provides only general guidelines for impeachment proceedings.

Congress is free to adjust the format and length of the hearings and trial. The Senate may
also vote to appoint a committee to hear evidence during the impeachment trial of any
federal official. After receiving all testimony, the committee prepares a report that
includes transcripts taken during the proceedings. After reviewing the evidence gathered
by the committee, the full Senate votes on the article or articles of impeachment. Today,
the Senate usually refers impeachment proceedings involving federal judges to

The standards for impeaching and convicting federal judges have traditionally
been lower than in impeachment cases involving presidents. Unlike elected officials,
judges are appointed for life and the only way to remove them is through an
impeachment proceeding. The electorate has no democratic way of removing a judge who
is incompetent or unfit to serve.

How Impeachment works

Impeachment is the process by which federal officials - such as judges and the
president - can be removed from office. The standard for impeachment is whether the
official has committed treason, bribery or "high crimes and misdemeanors."

Here is how the process works:

House Judiciary Committee holds hearings on the alleged offenses and the
evidence supporting or against them. Witnesses can be called to testify. After weighing
the evidence, the committee votes whether to send articles of impeachment to the full

The House votes on the articles of impeachment. If passed by a simple majority,

the official is said to have been "impeached."

The Senate then holds a trial of the impeached official. In the case of an
impeached president, the chief justice of the Supreme Court is the presiding officer. A
two-thirds majority is required to convict and remove the official from office.

What is a Parliamentary Government?

Parliamentary system, or parliamentarism, is distinguished by the executive

branch of government being dependent on the direct or indirect support of the legislative
branch, or parliament, often expressed through a vote of confidence. Hence, there is no
clear-cut separation of powers between the executive and legislative branches, leading to
criticism from some that they lack checks and balances found in a presidential republic.
Parliamentarism is praised, relative to presidentialism, for its flexibility and
responsiveness to the public. It is faulted for its tendency to sometimes lead to unstable
governments, as in the German Weimar Republic and the French Fourth Republic.
Parliamentary systems usually have a clear differentiation between the head of
government and the head of state, with the head of government being the prime minister
or premier, and the head of state often being an appointed figurehead with only minor or
ceremonial powers. However, some parliamentary systems also have an elected president
with many reserve powers as the head of state, providing some balance to these systems.

The term parliamentary system does not mean that a country is ruled by different
parties in coalition with each other. Such multi-party arrangements are usually the
product of an electoral system known as proportional representation. Parliamentary
nations that use first past the post voting usually have governments composed of one
party. The United Kingdom, for instance, has not had a coalition government since World
War II. However, parliamentary systems of continental Europe do use proportional
representation, and it seems that PR voting systems and coalition governments usually go
together. This system may also be heeded for governance in local governments. An
example is the city of Oslo, which has an executive council as part of a parliamentary

The features of a Parliamentary System

The executive is typically a cabinet, and headed by a prime minister who is

considered the head of government, but parliamentarism has also been practised with
privy councils and the Senate of Finland. The prime minister and the ministers of the
cabinet typically have their background in the parliament and may remain members
thereof while serving in cabinet. The leader of the leading party, or group of parties, in
the parliament is often appointed as the prime minister. In many countries, the cabinet, or
single members thereof, can be removed by the parliament through a vote of no
confidence. In addition, the executive can often dissolve the parliament and call extra-
ordinary elections. Under the parliamentary system the roles of head of state and head of
government are more or less separated. In most parliamentary systems, the head of state
is primarily a ceremonial position, often a monarch or president, retaining duties that
aren't politically divisive, such as appointments of civil service. In many parliamentary
systems, the head of state may have reserve powers which are usable in a crisis. In most
cases however, such powers are (either by convention or by constitutional rule) only
exercised upon the advice and approval of the head of government.

Because the executive is directly related to the legislature, some argue the
executive is actually more accountable than many fixed term presidential systems, as the
executive, being linked to the legislative, can face an early election in the face of the
aforementioned 'vote of confidence'. In addition, because the executive is usually part of
the legislature, they often face more direct questioning by opposition politicians as
members of that legislature. In a presidential system, the legislative branch usually has
few chances to directly question the president. It can also be argued that it's relatively
easier to pass legislation within a parliamentary system, since the executive and
legislative branches are more dependent on each other than in a system with a completely
separated executive. Within presidential systems, the executive is often chosen
independently from the legislature. If the executive is of a different party from those
leading the legislature, then stalemate can occur.

Parliamentary systems vary as to the degree to which they have a formal written
constitution and the degree to which that constitution describes the day to day working of
the government. Also, depending upon the voting system, they vary as to the number of
parties within the system and the dynamics between the parties. Relations between the
central government and local governments vary in parliamentary systems; they may be
federal or unitary states.

Advantages and Disadvantages

The main advantages are:

 instant and direct contact with MP-s (Member of Parliament) and committee and
faction advisers;
 economic efficiency, the relatively miniature expenditures for the state budget;
 effective use of electronic and other information sources outside the parliament;
 the ability to adjust working priorities to the demands of legislation;
 indispensable co-operation with other I&R units from the central government,
universities, local governments, NGO-s, colleagues of other parliaments etc;
 all advisers have the professional right and responsibility to make proposals to
parliamentary committees, if their analytical decision-making is transparent and
 small organisations are able to adapt to new concepts, organisational reforms etc
more quickly.

The main disadvantages are:

 the limited extent and volume of the services offered;

 if the electronic databases are at the development stage in some government
agencies, universities etc and the needed information is not accessible, the
advisers in the I&R Services spend their limited time on information seeking;
 if some research topics related to the parliamentary work and legislation are not
covered by universities' academic studies, then advisers must spend the time
educating themselves on the topic and writing the report corresponding to the
requests of the committee or political faction;
 if the law drafting standards and traditions are not sufficiently developed on the
level of executive power or political parties (see the best practices of the OECD
countries), the parliamentary I&R Services spend a lot of time on organisational
aspects of work or for additional information seeking and analysis;
 the responsibility of all advisers is great, but sometimes we have a lack of time for
an in-depth analysis;
 the advisers cannot specialise too narrowly, because they have to orient
themselves efficiently to different topics.

Countries with a parliamentary system of government are:

Armenia, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark,

Estonia, Finland, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, India, Republic of Ireland, Israel,
Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Latvia, Malaysia, Moldava, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway,
Portugal, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom.

Their type of Parliamentary System and History

The most geographically widespread parliamentary system is known as the

Westminster System; named after Westminster in London, the meeting place of Britain's
parliament. The Westminster system is used in Britain and in many nations of the
Commonwealth countries. In this model the head of state has considerable reserve
powers which have been limited in practice by convention rather than explicit
constitutional rule.

One major difference between the Westminster system and the types of
parliamentarism used on the Continent and in non-Commonwealth monarchies outside of
Europe is the voting system. Most Westminister systems use a kind of voting system, as
mentioned above, known as "first past the post." In first past the post, each district elects
one representative and that representative can be elected with a plurality. All Continental
parliamentary systems use some kind proportional representation, usually the list system.
First past the post favors a two-party system, proportional representation favors a multi-
party system.
Other differences arise over the power of the cabinet relative to the rest of the
assembly. France's Third and Fourth Republics were parliamentary, but most of the public
policy impetus came from the assembly, not the cabinet - the so called "regime
d'assemble." France's system was also disorganized compared to Britain's.

Several nations that are considered parliamentary actually have presidents who
are elected separately from the legislature and who have certain real powers. Examples of
this type of governance are Ireland and Austria. In both of these nations, there is a
tradition for the president to not use his powers. France's Fifth Republic has a separately
elected president who has a large role in government, but who is constitutionally weaker
than presidents in Ireland and Austria.

France is considered to have a "Semi-presidential system" of government. Some

scholars see France's government as half presidential, half parliamentary. Other scholars,
like Arend Lipjhart, see France's system as alternating between presidentialism and
parliamentarism. Lipjhart says that when the National Assembly is controlled by the party
opposite the president - cohabitation, France is fundamentally parliamentary. When the
president's party is in power in the National Assembly, the president, as party leader, is
the dominant force in government.

Although it is possible to have a powerful prime minister, as Britain does, or even

a dominant party system, as Japan has. Parliamentary systems are also sometimes
unstable. Critics point to Israel, Italy, the French Fourth Republic, and Weimar Germany
as examples of parliamentary systems where no confidence votes, and threats of no
confidence votes, make effective governance impossible. Defenders of parliamentarism
say that parliamentary instability is the result of proportional representation, political
culture, and highly polarized electorates
C. Opinion-Proof

Opinionof this political  A group of former

 We, the audience Proof cabinet officials

drama can only make hypothesis and (Hayatt 10) accused Malacanang of
predictions as what more is to come. having a hand in the endorsement of
the impeachment complaint filed by
 We really don’t know if Dinky private lawyer, Oliver Lozano, which
Soleman is telling the truth. We think the opposition branded as sham.
this is another attempt on the
opposition’s part to bring down the  In an interview Dinky Soleman
Arroyo administration. claimed that she had heard the
President instructed the presidential
 Well I think this is a planned out ploy adviser for political affairs, Gabriel
for PGMA’s downfall. Pulling the Claudio to endorse Lozano’s
President out of power and discredity complaint. The said Complaint is said
impeachment process has become a to be a ploy which was agreed to be
singular obsession by the former immediently be trashed.
cabinet members.
 The first two complaints have been  There are three complaints being filed:
regarded as insufficient and weak by The first complaint filed by Lawyer
the house of representatives, and the Jose Rizaldo, is too weak to go to the
impeachment is now dependent on the Full House of Representative. The
outcome of the third complaint second complaint by Oliver Lozano
Because of this, we believe that the was accused as a sham. Lastly the third
opposition is doing everything they can complaint, the amended Lozano
just to push forth the impeachment complaint, initially endorsed by 41
hearing. Shouts, harsh statements, and congressmen from the minority and
violent physical contacts inside the party list group
house, just shows that the opposition’s
desperate moves.  According to the constitution, only one
impeachment complaint can be given
 The opposition, is so pressured to the due course in a year. The Constitution
extent that they come up with gig or only allows one impeachment
new cases in order for the complaint a year against an official.
impeachment to go on. Like the walk-
out, funded rallies, etc...

 We believe there is a greater possibility

for these complaints to be trashed,
since all three of them are insufficient.
Also, since more congressmen are pro-
arroyo than the opposition, for sure,
with the numbers on her side, these
complaints stand a little chance.

 Because of the opposition’s failed  The impeachment proceeding are the

attempts like the People Power, they opposition’s last realistic hope of
are very much strained towards the ousting Arroyo, following failed
impeachment proceeding because it’s attempts to mobilize – “people power”
the only way to oust PGMA. Some protest.
officials take drastic measures just to
get rid of Gloria, even if what they are
accusing is false.

 As I see it, more and more gimmicks

(walkout, Soleman’s accusations) show
up, in order for the impeachment
hearing to survive. We believe the
opposition ran out of back up
complaints that they substitute it with
false accusation (Dinky Soleman’s
charge in Lozano complaint).

 Sooner or later, we believe that the  Arroyo camps estimates her opponents
truth will prevail together with the 79 have fewer than 50 supporters.
votes. But as you see, the truth we are
looking for shall be delayed due to the  The opposition would need 79 votes in
number of congressmen who signed the Full House- 1/3 of the membership
still isn’t enough. to send the complaint to the senates for
 Because of such situation, I think the  During the impeachment proceedings
walkout appeared to have been some members of the House justice
planned, since the opposition House committee threw papers into the air as
members do not have any hard they stormed from their seats when the
evidence to support their complaints. chairman, Rep. Simeon Datumanong,
Maybe they think their poor acting of tried to cut off debate for a vote on
tossing the papers and walking out will which one of the three impeachment
save them from further embarrassment complaints against Arroyo should be
and to prolong the impeachment considered.

 The case was weak and the evidence

was not enough to support their
 Although these allegations are  The opposition complaint filed against
convincing, but still they are not yet PGMA includes allegations Arroyo
accepted by the House Committee of betrayed the public through electoral
Justice, due to inadequate evidence. As fraud, as well as charges that her
I see it the charges being thrown to the family was involved in illegal
President is one of the tactics being gambling and that human rights were
done in order to secure her downfall. violated under her rule.
But still,
Arroyo’s betrayal of public trust:
 I would like to hear PGMA’s stand in PGMA contacted a Comelec
the said allegations. It may not be in a official by the name Virgilio Garcillano
form of an impeachment trial, but a hours before the votes were closed. She
simple and honest explanation coming instructed him to add up more votes to her
from her will do. At least to defend side.
herself from the attacks of the
opposition. Charges of her family:
Mike Arroyo was blamed to have
participated in Jueteng operations. The
money used for PGMA’s campaign last
2004 was derived from the money earned
in Jueteng.

Human Rights violated:

The right of the Filipino people to know
and live a society of truth is being violated
due to PGMA’s scandals ( hello Garci)
 It just shows the PGMA is protecting  Soleman said she witnessed to the
herself from the impeachment hearing. conversation between PGMA and her
Her refusal to impeachment process political adviser Secretary Gabriel
can already be constructed as a sign of Claudio to order Alagad Representative
guilt. But I remember once, that she Rodante Marcoleta to immediately
said she will be glad to submit herself endorse Lozano’s complaint. Lozano’s
for trial. Honestly I’m confused and said complaint assures PGMA that this
more so to the Filipino people. Who complaint will immediately be trashed.
shall we believe? To whom shall be
 I think that the opposition should just  It was stated in many broadcasts and
give up their lost cause owing to the newsprint that majority of those in
fact that they have neither the numbers Congress have decided to kill the
nor the signatures they need to push complaints since the numbers turn out
through with their complaints. to be in favor of the President. They
should be mature enough to accept that
loss and instead turn to something
more substantial that can entice people
to support them if they really want to
change the woman seated at the head
of our country.

 The main disadvantage and  In a presidential system, the president is

handicap of a Parliamentary directly chosen by the people, but in a
System, is that we, the people can Parliamentary System, the prime minister is
no longer vote for our chosen elected by the party leadership.
country leader.

 I believe that being able to vote for

our nation’s leader is the best
opportunity and benefit democracy
has. This is the only factor I
disagree upon in a Parliamentary

 This plan of change in government  Senate President Franklin Drilon, a key

would divert attention from Arroyo ally, said Charter change or Cha-cha
Arroyo’s ten point agenda and "should not be our priority" and the
other more attention-needed social government should instead focus on more
problems in our country. urgent concerns such as the worsening
budget deficit.
 We should still not loose focus of
our greater goals which is to build
a better Philippines

 The people seem to be divided on  Sen. Aquilino Pimentel, for one, wants a
the form of government that federal form of government set up.
should be installed. Some may
favor a parliamentary form of  So do many people in Mindanao. They
government, but others want a believe that federalism is the best solution to
federal form of government. the problems in Mindanao.
 We should first take time to
review the facts about which form
Opinion Proof
of government will be better suited
for our country to promote growth.

 Our very own Cebu may benefit  Since Cebu is one of the economically stable
greatly from this change in cities in our counrty, we will be able to earn
government. more and keep a bigger share of our
earnings. New laws can be made to increase
 We may be able to benefit from our cities income.
this and improve our city even
 It will be easier for us to tell who is  There will be fewer politicians so one can
responsible for inaction unlike in a easily pinpoint who is lying or not.
Presidential System. Therefore,  Also, in a Parliamentary System, the prime
there would be lesser graft and minister (chief executive) is often
corruption and lesser stealing from questioned by the legislature. This
the people. procedure would ensure us that the chief
executive is held to account and would act
as a check on his power.

 Change is not a bad thing. Maybe  An example is the Government of Armenia.

this change in our form of They build a Western-style parliamentary
government can change our democracy as the basis of its form of
present corrupted country, but in government. However, international
the end, it still depends on the observers have questioned the inherent
people fairness of Armenia's parliamentary and
presidential elections and constitutional
referenda since 1995, citing polling
deficiencies, lack of cooperation by the
electoral commission, and poor maintenance
of electoral lists and polling places.
 We don’t neccesarily have to follow the  Several nations that are considered
usual parliamentary rules, we should go parliamentary actually have presidents
for what will better suit our country. who are elected separately from the
legislature and who have certain real
powers. Examples of this type of
governance are Ireland and Austria.

 This kind of government system would  There will be fewer politicians

bring faster progress to our country. therefore less arguments.

 In the Parliamentary form of

government, the legislative and
 We may be able to benefit from this and
executive are one. The decision of the
see a clearer futur ahead of us. A less
executive presumes already that the
chaotic one and more organized.
legislative is part of the decision-
making; therefore the laws will move

 Although, we should keep in mind the  It is evident that Filipinos still need a
fact that our country may not be mature lot to learn about the maturity of a
enough to undergo the makings of a country and its government. A palpable
parliamentary government or any type proof is by the comparison of two
of government aside from our present countries, the United States of America
one for that matter. and the Philippines. Americans know
how, where and when to stage a protest
 But still, great things start from small demanding injustice or else other
steps. At least we are doing something, inequitable matters that needs to be
taking a step forward in building our attended to by their government. They
Ideal Philippines and make it more know how to accept defeat and they
refined than ever. certainly don’t go gallivanting into the
streets every time they’ve been
wronged or their proposals don’t go the
way they want it to go, unlike the
Filipinos. Our immaturity is displayed
nearly every single day, so clearly that’s
proof enough to say that we may not be




 Sienes, Chris G.."No Cha-Cha." 29 January 2003.

 Cabacungan, Gil C."Business backs shift to Parliamentary Gov't" Inquirer News

Service Online. 04 january 2003

 Microsoft ® Encarta ® Premium Suite 2005.

 De Leon, Hector S. “Textbook on the PHILIPPINE CONSTITUTION”. 1999.

Quezon City: Rex Printing Company Inc..


y.government.html 3 July. 2004