Gutierrez v. Committee on Justice (G.R. No. 193459; March 8, 2011)


FACTS: For resolution is petitioners "Motion for Reconsideration (of the Decision dated 15 February 2011)" dated February 25, 2011 (Motion). However, upon examination of the averments in the Motion, the Court finds neither substantial nor cogent reason to reconsider its Decision.A plain reading of the Decision could very well dispose of petitioner's previous contentions, raised anew in the Motion, but the Court finds it proper, in writing finis to the issue, to draw petitioners attention to certain markers in the Decision.ISSUES: [1] Did the Court deviate from Francisco v. House of Representatives regarding the proper initiation of an impeachment complaint?

[2] Does publication similarly mean promulgation in the context of the impeachment rules?

Petitioner urges that the word "initiate" must be read in its plain, ordinary and technical meaning, for it is contrary to reason, logic and common sense to reckon the beginning or start of the initiation process from its end or conclusion.

Petitioner would have been correct had the subject constitutional provision been worded as "no initiation process of the impeachment proceedings shall be commenced against the same official more than once within a period of one year," in which case the reckoning would literally point to the "start of the beginning."

The Court adhered to the Francisco-ordained balance in the tug-of-war between those who want to stretch and those who want to shrink the term "initiate," either of which could disrupt the provisions congruency to the rationale of the constitutional provision.

Petitioners imputation that the Courts Decision presents a sharp deviation fromFranciscoas it defers the operability of the one-year bar rule rings hollow.In re-affirming what the phrase "no impeachment proceedings shall be initiated" means, the Court closely applied

Francisco on what comprises or completes the initiation phase. Nothing can be more unequivocal or well-defined than the elucidation of filing-and-referral in Francisco.

Contrary to petitioner's position that the Court left in the hands of the House the question as to when an impeachment proceeding is initiated, the Court merely underscored the Houses conscious role in the initiation of an impeachment proceeding.The Court added nothing new in pinpointing the obvious reckoning point of initiation in light of the Francisco doctrine.

SECOND ISSUE: Petitioner reiterates her argument that promulgation means publication.She again cites her thesis that Commonwealth Act No. 638, Article 2 of the Civil Code, and the two Tada v. Tuvera Cases mandate that the Impeachment Rules be published for effectivity. When the Constitution uses the word "promulgate," it does not necessarily mean to publish in the Official Gazette or in a newspaper of general circulation.Promulgation, as used in Section 3(8), Article XI of the Constitution, suitably takes the meaning of "to make known" as it should be generally understood.

The Constitution clearly gives the House a wide discretion on how to effectively promulgate its Impeachment Rules.It is not for this Court to tell a co-equal branch of government on how to do so when such prerogative is lodged exclusively with it. DENIED.

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