Impeachment is the legal process provided by the 1987 Philippine Constitution to check against abuse of power and commission of offenses by high officials of the country who may not be removed from office through any other means. As understood the world over, impeachment refers to the process by which a legislative body formally levels charges against a high official of the government. Impeachment does not necessarily mean removal from office. It is only a formal statement of charges, which is akin to an indictment in criminal law. It is, therefore, only the first step towards removal from office. Once a public official is impeached, he or she must then face trial before the Senate and the possibility of conviction by means of a legislative vote. In case of conviction, he or she is then removed from office. II. Relevant Constitutional Provisions
Article XI - Accountability Of Public Officers
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. Section 3.
1. The House of Representatives shall have the exclusive power to initiate all cases of impeachment. 2. A verified complaint for impeachment may be filed by any Member of the House of Representatives or by any citizen upon a resolution or endorsement by any Member thereof, which shall be included in the Order of Business within ten session days, and referred to the proper Committee within three session days thereafter. The Committee, after hearing, and by a majority vote of all its Members, shall submit its report to the House within sixty session days from such referral, together with the corresponding resolution. The resolution shall be calendared for consideration by the House within ten session days from receipt thereof. 3. A vote of at least one-third of all the Members of the House shall be necessary either to affirm a favorable resolution with the Articles of Impeachment of the Committee, or override its contrary resolution. The vote of each Member shall be recorded. 4. In case the verified complaint or resolution of impeachment is filed by at least one-third of all the Members of the House, the same shall constitute the Articles of Impeachment, and trial by the Senate shall forthwith proceed. 5. No impeachment proceedings shall be initiated against the same official more than once within a period of one year. 6. The Senate shall have the sole power to try and decide all cases of impeachment. When sitting for that purpose, the Senators shall be on oath or affirmation. When the President of the Philippines is on trial, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court shall preside, but shall not vote. No person shall be convicted without the concurrence of two-thirds of all the Members of the Senate. 7. Judgment in cases of impeachment shall not extend further than removal from office and disqualification to hold any office under the Republic of the Philippines, but the party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to prosecution, trial, and punishment, according to law. 8. The Congress shall promulgate its rules on impeachment to effectively carry out the purpose of this section. III. Nature
Impeachment has the elements of a criminal process but it is basically a political process designed to deal with the misconduct by high public officers. The political aspect of this process arises from the fact that the principal players, particularly the senator-judges and representative-prosecutors, are not ordinary citizens appointed as judges or prosecutors but rather are elected officials who serve by virtue...