Impeachment at Ateneo

It is often said that the university is a microcosm of society. Granted, this is usually said of the University of the Philippines, but it also applies to other schools, with slight modifications.

At any rate, it can be said that our universities mirror society since they have valid issues too. Valid to the students, at any rate.

Take the Occupy Job Fair at Ateneo de Manila University earlier this year as a protest against a job fair perceived to be aimed at finding jobs for people from the ADMU School of Management:

An unrepresentative and unaccommodating job fair is one more insult on top of all the SOM students who’ve discriminated against us in our very own classes whether out of malice or ignorance. We’re not saying that people mean to marginalize us through all of these things, but all we’re asking for is space and respect for non-corporate ways to make sense of our lives.

At the end of the day even if there is no giant SOMspiracy, students from SOSS and SOH unfairly feel the weight of the invisible hand. We’re making a perfectly legitimate choice offered by the institution and it’s only right that we expect the Ateneo institution to stand by us by validating our choices in the job fair.

Clearly, even though many of them are in the Philippines’ 1 percent (which, in no way means the global 1 percent), students from schools other than the School of Management felt they were in the 99 percent.

Here are photos from that protest:

Photos from Rica Facundo (

Ms. Facundo adds:

In my four college years in Ateneo this is the most vocal I’ve seen the community. Perhaps the medium was radical, but if other people voiced their opinions sooner then maybe this could have been prevented. Although there are bigger issues to be concerned about, if you can’t speak up in your community now then what more when you leave it.

But the world has since moved on from the Occupy movement (except for people actually Occupying cities) and the flavor of the month is now the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona.

Which brings us to the potential impeachment trial of an ADMU student council officer for “mismanagement, inefficiency,incompetence, and gross neglect of duty.”

An excerpt, with the respondent’s name redacted:


WHEREFORE, pursuant to the procedure laid out in Section 19, Article II of theSanggunian Constitution, the undersigned complainants, as students of the Ateneo deManila University – Loyola Schools, hereby file the impeachment complaint against Respondent [Redacted].Thereafter, undersigned Complainants respectfully pray that the Honorable Magistratesof the Student Judicial Court conduct trial forthwith and thereafter, render a judgment of conviction against Respondent [Redacted]. Other reliefs, just and equitable, are also prayed for

Indolent Indio doesn’t know whether the complaint, dated February 19, has been filed, or whether it will be filed by ADMU party Christian Union for Socialist and Democratic Advancement (Crusada) at all. There is a document, though, and it exists online.

In any case, this will not be the first time that impeachment proceedings have been initiated at the ADMU as a cursory Google search has found:

A lot of Ateneans do not know this but there is an Impeachment Trial going on right in their very own campus.

The plaintiffs are members of the Sanggu themselves including [Redacted] and the rest of the top officers in the council.

The Prosecution is headed by Joan De Venecia and William Panlilio.

These are the charges: Violation of constitution and abuse of power And Misrepresentation

On the first day of the trial, Jan. 15,2001, the President is off to a stumbling start. First, her motion for reconsideration and dismissal on the grounds that not all the plaintiffs were present at the start of the trial was shot down at least three times by the Judicial council. When she cited another Article for her reasons, it turns out that the Article was referring to the Judicial Council and JC chief Baldoria told her that they are complete.

It seems that the president is looking for a way out of this through technicality. It seems, however, that she is shooting herself in the foot in her oral argumentations.

It’s the greatest show in school!

That impeachment trial happened in 2001, when, coincidentally, the Senate was trying impeached President Joseph Ejercito Estrada. The Pinoy Exchange thread was started on January 16, 2001, a day before Edsa Dos. It is unclear whether a proportionally smaller crowd later rallied along the Ateneo corridors against their impeached council president. [For accuracy’s sake: there was no such rally.]

(Thx, ‘S.O.M Mall Lady’)

I’ll Be The Judge Of That

One thing that seems obvious from the first two weeks of the Corona impeachment trial is that we do not seem to know much about the legal system. We seem, for example, to think that judges should be like the Judges of the bible, ready and eager to smite impertinent lawyers and/or Philistines.

The Internet (Pinoy chapter) was full of praise when former actual judge, quasi-judge, and future international court judge Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago berated lawyers from both sides for arguing when she wanted to speak:

Excerpts from the comments thread of a Yahoo! Philippines story on her outburst:’

Excerpts. The thread itself is more entertaining

That sure showed those pompous lawyers pompously doing their jobs and pompously arguing legal points what’s what. Shame on them for doing things like citing boring  laws and, in the case of private prosecutor Arthur Lim, making emphatic hand gestures.

Lim wanted BIR chief Kim Henares to testify on Corona’s income tax returns but Santiago, and the court, said there was no need for that.

Santiago said she wanted to keep the proceedings short. “Kaya tayo tumatagal, may oration pa eh! (This oration is what is delaying this) This is not a school on oratorical skills. This is a school on logic and experience,” she said before orating for minutes, spewing “at least 3 words per second.” After which, the court was suspended for a few minutes to give people time to calm down.

But what did that really accomplish except further cementing Santiago’s reputation as a lady with a sharp tongue and who speaks her mind never mind who gets offended? Henares testified anyway.

Santiago did it again the next day, shaming Lim in open court and on live TV, after basically saying the impeachment complaint is no good.

Entertaining TV, to be sure, but this is the gem in that long tirade:


Santiago: How many years have you been in trial practice, counsel?

Lim: 42 years, your honor.

Santiago: And what have you specialized in? Is it not true you specialize in maritime law?

Lim: In everything, your honor.

Santiago: What an impertinent answer. Let me get to the point because I might lose my temper with you.

Had that happened, I assume Santiago would have transformed into a primordial dragon beast and devoured Lim as the people at the Senate session hall debate on whether to applaud or scream in terror, and decide to instead go mad. After that, Santiago would disappear into the sea to commune with other creatures of Lovecraftian horror until the trial resumes next week. Basically, what I am saying is “What the fuck?

Anti-Social Media: Impeachment edition

While the cameras were trained on the clash between the two sides on the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona, there were smaller clashes among the media covering the event.

Which is understandable, really, given the emotionally-charged atmosphere of the whole thing. Tensions are so high, in fact, that journalists–both multimedia and traditional–were quick to see bombs when one of their own left a bag of equipment unattended for several hours.

The Special Weapons and Tactics team of the Pasay City Police had to be brought in and sniffer dogs had to check the bag for explosives. Senate security was not pleased, our correspondent says, because the scare made them look like fools. The radio crew who left their equipment were not too pleased either because they had to go without their equipment, will have to endure ribbing from their colleagues, and have to personally apologize to the Senate President.

Well, at least it gave everyone an excuse to whip out their smart phones and encourage discussion through this new thing called online journalism.

But more explosive is a brewing cat fight between a posse of reporters from a young media outlet and an existing clique of reporters with more experience both in front of the camera and on the beat. It does not help that the new reporters seem to still be undergoing birth pains. Covering an impeachment trial is, after all, not the easiest way to get your feet wet in journalism.

There was a shouting match this week after one of the new reporters, possibly harassed and treading water, pushed a bigger network’s camera aside. She accidentally touched the lens, which is apparently akin to slapping the Pope in the face, and so one of the veteran reporters let her have it (shouting, not the camera). To be fair, the newbie reporter had been hit on the head by a camera earlier that day (and who among us has not?) and she was just trying clear a path while protecting herself.

Another new reporter asked the defense lawyers why they were holding a press conference while the trial was going on. The lawyer, with a booming voice that would make a prosecutor quail, told her matter of factly that they were holding the press conference because the media had asked for one. “I thought we were doing you a favor,” he said as the reporter sank slowly into the plush carpets of the Senate before the Earth swallowed her up.

It was, to be sure, not the smartest question to ask a lawyer who used to be chief of staff to Supreme Court Justice Andres Narvasa. But it did not deserve the derisive laughter and the audible click of hundreds of eyes rolling in their sockets. Every journalist in that room began as a newbie, and the mean girls of the media have had their own share of booboos. It’s even debatable whether some of those in the old guard have learned anything in their many years in journalism.

A glaring example of that may be in this lady reporter with medusa locks who likes to take over press briefings with snide comments from the sidelines. “Give us the list!,” she shouted at the prosecutors from the House of Representatives, who were about to actually give the list of people they were calling as witnesses to the trial.

“It’s on the press release, honey!,” she screamed at a newbie reporter who had not, in fact, received the press release that would have answered her question. At any rate, the question was not addressed to her. With each comment, an ever widening circle as other reporters began cringing away in embarrassment.

We’re not saying that this same reporter has been harassing lawmakers for perks like food for the press office and free rides to and from the Senate. We hear, though, that other people are saying that.