Prior to the decision of the Committee on Justice, I was still hoping against hope that a fair and unhindered presentation of the complaint and the evidence supporting it was going to be allowed. I was banking on the belief that since COngress is a deliberative body, congressmen will listen to reason and instead of putting up legal technicalities as obstacles to the truth, they will stretch the limits of rules in order to assist the Truth to come out, before making an objective, rational and intelligent decision on how to vote.
I would like to think that I am an idealist. I shudder at every moment in my politician's life when I stop and ponder if I am losing my idealism and start becoming a pragmatist. I still believd in the process and I still had faith in the Institution that is the House of Representatives.
But as things turned out, the impeachment complaint was not going to see the light of day. It was then that I began to question the process and the wisdom of pursuing an objective that will never be achieved.
I am one who believes that while we stand firm in the principles and causes we fight for, we should also be flexible enough to adapt to the situations we face in the pursuit of those principles and causes. The US Marines have a motto to remind the troops how to perform under fire, even under the most dire conditions..."IMPROVISE, ADAPT adn OVERCOME."
The question was: "should we pursue impeachment even if it does not have a chance at all to survive? What will its dismissal do to the opposition's objectives and goals?" It was time for strategic rather than emotional and sentimental thinking.
After much contemplation, I arrived at the conclusion that under the prevailing process in the House, the impeachment complaint's fate was already sealed by the overwhelming number of the Majority. I knew that no amount of reasoning or argument can change that.
With that, I decided to abstain from voting, and I even prepared my explanation of vote:
Mr. Speaker, colleagues:
“These are the things you are to do: Speak the truth to each other, and render true and sound judgments in your courts” – Zechariah
For the second time in the 13th Congress, we are called upon to exercise our duties as Representatives of the People and decide on a matter that will have great consequence to our nation. We are asked to decide whether or not the President of the Republic of the
I have no regrets in standing for what I believed in, and I maintain that it was worth the fight. Ultimately, the judge of whether we did right or wrong in last year’s impeachment will not be our fellow man but God Almighty.
It is a sad note that even before this year’s complaint saw the light of day in the Committee on Justice, it was already sentenced to its doomed fate. It is ironic that with the same vigor that the death penalty was abolished in this Chamber in the name of justice, the people’s complaint was summarily executed in cold blood, its eventual death decided on before the first bang of the gavel.
The rhetoric by those who proclaimed the death even before the initial examination speaks of verbal creativity. Indeed the play with words are worthy of emulation, if only for the display of literary prowess. I doubt, however, if it reflects any value for fairness and balance in the process.
I am a believer in Sun Tzu’s Art of War. Of his five essentials for victory, the first says, “He will win who knows when to fight and when not to fight.” This is further explained by Chang Yu, one of the acknowledged commentators on the Art of War, “If he can fight, he advances and takes the offensive; if he cannot fight, he retreats and remains on the defensive. He will invariably conquer who knows whether it is right to take the offensive or the defensive.”
A tactical retreat should not be equated to the abandonment of a cause. It is merely a selection of the battlefield where one will fight, a lesson not lost on General MacArthur, who, if he had chosen to stay and fight the Japanese, could have died a hero but never see the victory at the end of the war.
The conditions prevailing last year are different from conditions prevailing this year. That is not to say that questions about the Truth have already been answered, partially or wholly. It is just that there are less elements that favor a successful impeachment.
On hindsight, my knee-jerk reaction to the Catholic Bishops Conference of the
Now I am inclined to agree with their statement, that indeed, the process does not lend justice to the noble cause of the search for truth.
While I no longer favor the pursuit of impeachment at this time for reasons of strategy and not of substance, I cannot be counted with those who agree with this committee report. I find the process not in conformity to my ideal manner of how to let the Truth come out.
I believe that it requires extra effort on everyone’s part for Truth to reveal itself, and any resistance, however miniscule, will surely hinder its exposition.
I enjoy competitive sports. But if I feel that a game is fixed, or rigged to go in favor of a particular side, I lose interest in participating in it. I would rather not allow myself to be subjected to such an insult and just wait for the next game.
The impeachment is not the be-all and end-all of the search for Truth. The cause is greater than the process and I believe that there are other methods and opportunities to continue the fight for righteousness in government.
I do not wish to participate in this particular process, therefore, I abstain.
But as I was listening to the interpellations prior to the voting, I couldn't help but be dismayed at how the debate was proceeding. It was disappointing to hear none of the expected gentlemanly debate that is contemplated by Robert's Rules of Order or even the Rules of the House of Representatives.
It was bad enough that the spirit of giving the minority the chance to present its case and possibly, just possibly, convince other congressmen of their cause was abandoned. It was made worse by the arrogant manner of interpellation by some members of the majority.
This was not the idealist's preference of a truly "Honorable" House of Representatives and Impeachment Proceedings.
It was then that another decision was made...that of NON-PARTICIPATION.
I did not wish to participate in a process that did not conform to what I believed should be the way a COnstitutional process is conducted by a COnstitutional institution. Even a vote of Abstention would have lent credence to something that I objected to.