We have already impeached a president and a chief justice for graft and corruption. This has left an unforgettable mark in our history and the public’s mind. Today, no president or chief justice can violate our laws or constitution and still feel completely secure in their post. The precedents have been set.
It is clear from the ten billion-peso Napoles port barrel scam that certain legislators in Congress have perpetrated graft and corruption of the worst kind. Napoles had no power to do these things by herself. The masterminds of the scam are obviously powerful senators and congressmen who decide where and how their pork barrel funds will be spent.
The successful million people’s march will surely set off a debate about what concrete actions the movement should demand from the government. Some suggest the abolition of all pork barrel, others want to shift focus on the presidential pork barrel. The different suggestions all have their good supporting arguments.
Among all the various options, the impeachment of selected legislators holds special significance. Such impeachment will complete the expression of the power of the people to unseat corrupt public officials. The two previous impeachments had successfully unseated the chief executive, and the chief justice. If the impeachment of high-ranking legislators also succeeds, people power will have expressed its effectiveness over the three branches of government. It will be a victory of historic proportions.
This is the perfect time to teach all legislators a lesson. The public must insist that the worst of the corrupt legislators – who can surely be identified after an honest-to-goodness investigation of the scam – be impeached, as the first step in the criminal prosecution of the guilty. It is time to impeach the most corrupt of our legislators.
Impeaching some senators and congressmen may not discourage all public officials from stealing public funds, but it will leave a permanent mark in every politician’s psyche. Whether they are in the executive, judicial or legislative departments, they will realize that they are within reach of impeachment proceedings if public wrath against their corrupt practices reaches the boiling point.
A successful impeachment process need not stop there. Once the top crooks among senators and congressmen have been identified, criminal prosecution and subsequent jail terms can follow, if the movement manages to maintain its momentum. Pressure can then be exerted on both the executive and legislative branches to truly abolish the pork barrel system of personal allotments outside the collective budgeting process. The momentum can even carry over to other legislation essential for anti-graft and corruption campaings, like a Freedom of Information Act
At this historical juncture, the demand of the moment is to impeach legislator-crooks.