Enrile, Belmonte agree that House should follow SC order on impeach case vs Ombudsman

September 16, 2010 12:19 pm 

By Lilybeth G. Ison

MANILA, Sept. 15 — Leaders of both chambers of Congress on Wednesday agreed that lawmakers should abide by the Supreme Court decision suspending the impeachment proceedings against Ombudsman Meceditas Gutierrez.

Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, in a chance interview after attending the Ceremonial Handover of the Citizens’ Report on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) held at the Batasan Complex in Quezon City, said that this is normal in any court.

"If they (SC) are presented with complex issues they want time to study the problem. It does not necessarily mean that they have made up their minds, it's simply that they want more time to consider the issues involved and so they will tell the parties 'wait a minute, stay put, give us time to study’," he said.

Enrile said he believes the SC did not interfere with the powers of Congress as "we are all governed by the Constitution and the one that interprets the Constitution is the Supreme Court."

"We have to understand the workings of our government, of our constitutional system. Nobody is above the other. There's a very delicate and elaborate system of checks and balances so when the SC says we are issuing a TRO (temporary restraining order) ordering you to maintain the status quo, they want to exercise a rational judgment to serve the interest not only of the litigants but of the country," he said.

For his part, House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. said he does not want to be on the "war path" with the High Court on the issue.

"At this stage, I want to look at this situation as a clarification of what the situation actually is, what are the real facts in the House. We have not yet reached the point wherein there is a real confrontation between them and us. As the leader of this House, I say yes, let’s give this system, our coordination between government departments, a chance," he said.

"Huwag ‘yung nakaumang ka kaagad para lumaban (We shouldn’t be in a fight mode too soon). There’s plenty of time for that if ever it becomes necessary. It’s too premature to be quarrelling over anything, people just want to know what is going on, let’s give them the chance," he added.

Belmonte earlier said that the House of Representatives "will abide by the Court's order."

He said that as a courtesy to a co-equal branch of government, "we shall, in the meantime, abide by the Court's order." (PNA)

scs/LGI

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