Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Who has jurisdiction over a "non-impeachable" act?

Who has jurisdiction over a "non-impeachable act?" (not to be confused with an "impeachable act")

These are a series of questions that could be answered in one integrated explanation. Note most the questions below require a legal background to be answered.

1. When a court like the Regional Trial Court adjudicates an issue that is not enumerated by law or the constitution as part of its jurisdiction, will the said RTC's decision be valid or not? (For example, the issue is cognizable only by the Sandiganbayan yet the Regional Trial Court usurps the recognition of the issue.)

2. Does the Impeachment Court (IC) have exclusive jurisdiction over the “impeachable acts” as enumerated in the Constitution?

Article XI, Section 2. 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. All other public officers and employees may be removed from office as provided by law, but not by impeachment.

3. On the other hand, does the IC have exclusive jurisdiction over “non-impeachable acts” (i.e. those acts not enumerated in the Constitution? e.g. jaywalking)

4. Is the IC’s decision "jurisdictionally valid" when it acquits a respondent over failure to attain the burden of proof of an “impeachable act?”

5. On the other hand, is the IC’s decision "jurisdictionally valid" when it convicts a respondent over a “non-impeachable act? ” (in contrast to an "impeachable act")

6. Will the IC be lacking of jurisdiction or will be in excess of jurisdiction when it adjudicates over an issue, subject matter, or res, that involves a “non-impeachable act?”

7. Is non-disclosure of the SALN part of the constitutionally-enumerated so-called “impeachable acts?”

If it is not, then is the Senate, on its own, amending the words of the constitution by adding the phrase "non-disclosure of SALN?" Does the Senate IC have the power to amend the Constitution? If there is an "interpretation issue" who has the power to interpret the Constitution?

8. If such non-disclosure is a “non-impeachable act”, then, is it possible that the IC lacked jurisdiction or was in excess of jurisdiction in “convicting” a respondent over a “non-impeachable act?”

9. According to the Constitution, when any court or government agency or body is lackning in jurisdiction or in excess of jurisdiction, can the Supreme Court,( under its expanded power of judicial review) modify, review, or reverse the decision of such body or court?

10. What if that agency or body or court were the IC, does the SC still have the power of judicial review over it?