Displaying items by tag: Politics

The politics of impeaching a president

We hear the word impeachment mentioned more frequently in both the United States and the Philippines these days although it is very remote at this time that the sitting presidents of both countries will be impeached. 

In March, an opposition lawmaker filed an impeachment complaint against President Rodrigo Duterte calling for the president’s removal from office citing high crimes, betrayal of public trust, and abuse of power as the basis for his impeachment complaint. 

The justice committee of the Lower House recently dismissed the impeachment charges against President Duterte for “insufficiency in substance” related to the president’s alleged role in the state-sponsored killings and the Davao Death Squad, as well as his administration’s alleged inaction to uphold the country’s sovereign rights over the West Philippine Sea, Panatag Shoal, and Benham Rise. 

For now, President Duterte will not be the subject of an impeachment trial unlike former president Joseph Estrada who was charged with plunder and perjury during an impeachment trial in the Philippine Senate in December 2000.  However, President Estrada was ousted from office in January of 2001 during a popular uprising in Metro Manila after his aborted impeachment trial.

Will President Duterte suffer the same fate?  

I doubt it.  Not at this time.  President Duterte enjoys strong support from lawmakers of both houses and if the social survey results are correct, it appears that he still holds a high trust rating among the people. 

But the rising death toll as a result of the extrajudicial killings going on in the Philippines will surely hurt his popularity later on.  Like the failed social experiments and painful experiences in Thailand and Colombia, the Filipino people will soon realize that mass killings simply do not work and that there are more creative and productive solutions in dealing with the drug menace without killing the poor, the voiceless, and the powerless.   

History has taught us that the rule of law is vital to progress and a country will not move forward without it because those in power will be the first ones who will engage in corruption and acts that are detrimental to the best interests of the nation if the rule of law is absent and missing.

The rule of law is the world’s best hope for building peaceful and prosperous societies according to former United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon.  Even Philippine CJ Maria Lourdes Sereno spoke about the dangers of lawlessness and impunity which she said represents a breakdown in governance. 

I hope that President Duterte will find it alarming that 45 of the 47 members of the Human Rights Council expressed deep concerns about the human rights situation in the Philippines.  I hope also that he will listen to the Council’s call for his government to investigate the extrajudicial killings that have been going on since he took office and since his war on drugs started.  

  In President Donald Trump’s case, unlike President Duterte, his trust rating has been very low since he took office.  But like President Duterte, President Trump enjoys strong support from his Republican party mates and allies in both the House of Representatives and the Senate (unlike President Richard Nixon who resigned before the House could vote on the impeachment resolutions against him when his political support was completely eroding and collapsing and the Democrats enjoyed the majority vote on his impeachment).    

Many legal and constitutional experts assert though that the conduct of the U.S. president poses a danger to the nation’s democratic system of government. 

It is alleged that the firing of FBI Director James Comey obstructs the investigation on the claimed Russian connection and influence in the results of the 2016 presidential election--- and the taped conversation with former-director Comey they allege may be classified as a form of intimidation and obstruction of justice. 

Will a Trump impeachment complaint prosper?  Like in President Duterte’s case, impeaching President Trump is tough and remote for now--- but there is a stronger possibility after the 2018 mid-year election if the dominant party in Congress changes. 

Until next week.

Jojo Liangco is an attorney with the Law Offices of Amancio M. Liangco Jr. in San Francisco, California.  His practice is in the areas of immigration, family law, personal injury, civil litigation, business law, bankruptcy, DUI cases, criminal defense and traffic court cases.  Please send your comments to Jojo Liangco, c/o Law Offices of Amancio "Jojo" Liangco, 605 Market Street, Suite 605, San Francisco, CA 94105 or you can call him (415) 974-5336.  You can also visit Jojo Liangco’s website at www.liangcolaw.com

 

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FBI Agents Are Doing Something Unusual In The Wake Of Comey’s Firing

  • Published in U.S.

Prior to the Nov. 8 election, the FBI was, more or less, Trumpland. They wanted Trump to win. They neither trusted nor approved of Hillary Clinton. And that anti-Hillary attitude led to a number of anti-Hillary leaks to the press from the agency. They were angry with James Comey’s decision not to indict Hillary over her emails.

Now, though, the FBI is wracked with shock, anger and grief over Comey’s sudden firing. According to the Daily Beast, one agent said his abrupt dismissal was like a death in the family. Another said that they’re basically “sitting shiva,” which is a Jewish ritual of mourning just after a funeral.

And some of them are doing something very unusual for a situation like this: They’re posting pictures of themselves with Comey on social media, and even changing their profile pics to those of Comey. That’s a gesture generally reserved for someone who dies.

Acting Director Andrew McCabe told the Senate Judiciary Committee that Comey was well-liked and had broad support throughout the bureau. In other words, when Trump said that Comey had lost the trust and respect of his rank and file, he was either not speaking for the majority of the rank and file, or he was flat-out lying.

Rank-and-file agents were also very suspicious of the timing of Comey’s firing, wondering whether it had anything to do with the Russia probes. Various officials’ phones were ringing off the hook. FBI headquarters in D.C. was more or less locked down and not answering the flood of phone calls coming in.

One agent told the Daily Beast that there’s likely to be serious distrust of whoever Trump puts into Comey’s place:

“No matter who gets the job, there will be a cloud of suspicion because the President is unpopular with much of the [U.S.]. That bad faith will make it harder to do my job.”

Trump undermined the public’s trust in the FBI more than Comey ever could. The new director is going to face a tough confirmation, with much of the Senate viewing Trump with suspicion, too. That makes possible picks like Rudy Giuliani out of the question – he’s going to have to tread very carefully with Comey’s replacement. In the meantime, McCabe has assured the Senate that he’ll let them know immediately if the White House tries to interfere with the Russia probes in any way at all.

 

By  Rika Christensen, Addicting Info


Featured image by Zach Gibson via Getty Images

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Dan Rather’s Facebook Post After Trump Fired Comey Deserves A G****** Pulitzer

  • Published in U.S.

 

 

Seldom are words so perfect that they summarize the weight of an entire situation, but former CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather just made sure not only the nation but the world knows exactly what just happened when Donald Trump fired former FBI Director James Comey.

Taking to Facebook, Rather wrote:

 

“Future generations may mark today as one of the truly dark days in American history, a history that may soon take an even more ominous turn.

President Trump’s sudden firing of FBI Director James Comey is a matter that should deeply concern every American, regardless of party, partisan politics or ideological leanings.

The independence of our law enforcement is at the bedrock of our democracy. That independence, already grievously shaken under the brief tenure of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, is now shattered by uncertainty.

The firing of an FBI Director is always a very serious matter in normal times. But these times aren’t normal. Far from it. The Bureau is engaged in one of the most important and perilous investigations of this or any other presidency—the investigation of connections between the Trump election campaign and the Russian government.

The questions mount and the shadow grows darker. What were those connections? What did Mr. Trump know about them and when did he know it? How can the President explain the serious allegations against his former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn? And what is President Trump hiding in this regard? It’s imperative that the nation—We The People—get answers to those questions. It will take time, but the process must start now.

A politicized FBI is the last thing we need as we struggle through the maze of lies, concealment and ever-deepening mysteries. The last time a President fired prosecutors who were investigating him was Richard Nixon during the widespread criminal conspiracy known for short as “Watergate.” We all know how that turned out. In real ways, this potential scandal and coverup are much graver. We are talking about the very security of the United States and the sanctity of our republic.

Thomas Paine famously wrote in 1776: “These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. ”

I see this as having the potential for a similar reflection point in our American story. If there is a cover up, if our nation is at the risk that has certainly been more than suggested, it is incumbent upon everyone who claims to love this nation to demand answers.

We need a special prosecutor. We need an independent investigation. There is, obviously, much we don’t know about what has just happened, why it happened and why now. Just as obviously there is much more, so much more that we need know. We need to damn the lies and expose the truth.”

 -Blue Tribune.

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