Will history repeat itself?
Vice President Jejomar Binay urges the public not to repeat the same mistake it did during the impeachment trial of former president Joseph Estrada – letting public opinion rule above the law.
In his speech before the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines on Thursday, Binay recounted how Estrada’s trial failed after the prosecutors walked out of the impeachment court when the Senate then refused to accept evidence. The issue, he said, was finally decided by People Power 2 at EDSA, successfully ousting Estrada.
“It was wrong to have allowed enraged public opinion, rather than due process and the rule of law, to take control of the constitutional process, and to have allowed the impeachment trial to be aborted because of pressure from the streets,” Binay said.
The vice president added that it took the rest of former president Gloria Arroyo’s administration to make the Filipinos realize that the “constitutional shortcut was a ruinous mistake.”
“The fact that Estrada today appears to enjoy wider public support than Arroyo is further confirmation of that painful mistake. It seems, therefore, obvious that if there is anything we could learn form that first impeachment trial, is that we should not repeat any of its mistakes,” he said.
Binay was the running mate of Estrada in the 2010 national elections. Pardoned president Estrada obtained the second most number of votes.
Now, with the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona, Binay pointed out that the country’s common objective should be to make sure that due process and rule of law are observed and that justice is served.
“Unless we see a serious breach in the proceedings, our common task is to lend to the Senate trial our attentive and respectful silence. It should succeed as a fair and just constitutional process,” he added.