Saturday, November 05, 2005

Citizens’ Congress for Truth and Accountability Concept Paper


The brazen killing of the impeachment proceedings in Congress has denied the public the chance to know the truth and demand accountability of the President for the various crimes and misdemeanors for which she is being accused. Instead of resolving the political crisis, the dismissal of the complaint on technical grounds has only aggravated the situation.

This failure of the Constitutional process has reinforced the need for an alternative venue to present, examine and perpetuate the body of evidence against the President and determine her accountability as well as that of other public officials.

It is for this reason that the Bukluran Para sa Katotohanan has initiated the creation of a Citizens’ Congress for Truth and Accountability (Citizens’ Congress or CCTA for brevity). The amended impeachment complaint was turned over by the House Impeachment Team on September 6 after the administration-dominated Congress voted down the impeachment of Mrs. Arroyo. Bukluran has created a Steering Committee which came up with the proposal and laid the ground for the convening of a Citizens’ Congress.

General Concept

The Citizens’ Congress aims to be a venue for the presentation and examination of the cases and pieces of evidence against the President on charges that she violated the Constitution, betrayed the public trust, and engaged in bribery, graft and corruption. Aside from hearing the said cases and evidences, the Citizens’ Congress will come up with findings and conclusions.

The Citizens’ Congress derives its legal basis from Art. XIII Sec. 15 of the Constitution, which provides:

“The State shall respect the role of independent people’s organizations to
enable the people to pursue and protect, within the democratic framework their legitimate and collective interests and aspirations through peaceful and lawful means.”

The amended impeachment complaint will serve as the foundation for the
Citizens’ Congress’ work. This involves specific acts of electoral fraud including the controversial ‘Hello Garci tape’ and the use of government funds for election, cases of bribery, graft and corruption and mounting political repression and massive human rights violations. Other issues may be added as deemed necessary.

The Citizens' Congress will be composed of about 400 delegates coming from various sectors of society. The convenors of the Congress shall be composed of individuals known for their integrity and credibility. The set of presiding officers or presidium shall be composed of personalities known for their competence, probity and fairness. A team of lawyer-delegates shall serve as the presentor and will help the delegates and the presidium examine the cases and evidences. A Congress secretariat will be formed to provide administrative and technical assistance.

The Citizens’ Congress will adopt its own set of Rules of procedure guiding its sessions and public hearings.

The Citizens’ Congress will hold its sessions 3-4 hours a day, the first set of hearings will be held on November 8, 9, 15 and 16 from 9:00 am to 1:00 p.m.

The Citizens’ Congress will gather, sift through and weigh the evidences with the help of select members of the House impeachment team and private lawyers who will serve as lawyer-delegates. It shall invite witnesses to give their testimonies under oath.

The Congress’ findings and recommendations will be presented to the public and in particular to religious institutions like the CBCP, AMRSP. NCCP, PCEC, the media, schools, public institutions like Congress and the Office of the Ombudsman as well as appropriate international bodies.


Anonymous said...

Your rationale - The brazen killing of the impeachment proceedings in Congress, is a misread. You are saying that over two thirds of Congress was either wrong or bribed. You should take issue instead with mishandling of the impeachment trial by the opposition congressmen. Too many blunders. You should invite them to your congress for truth were they might learn a thing or two.

It's good to note that you will now gather and present evidence in your truth congress. Normally this should come before the judgement, but anyway, am sure the administration lawyers will be keen to see what you have. Is that a good idea???

InspectorTrue said...

The Citizens Congress is a good idea, unfortunately it is not being shown live or in full on local tv.

The Black and White movement should sell or distribute dvd copies of the entire proceedings so that people will know the truth.

Helga said...

Thank you, Inspectortrue. We will take your suggestion into consideration. It's a good idea.

Anonymous, personally, I think 2/3 of Congress was wrong and bribed, but yes, maybe the pro-impeachment Reps may have made a misstep or two along the way. In regard to the Citizens' Congress, two of the prominent Pro-Impeach Reps, Alan Cayetano and Chiz Escudero are active participants.

Anonymous said...

The truth..????
1) Someone is manipulating somebody.
2) Citizen's congress members have prejudged the administration.
2) If one politician is not in power, he/she is trying to destroy the one in power, and will try his/her best in order that the incumbents will not succeed in governing the country, otherwise he/she will not be in power.
3) The above are as clear as Black and White.

Anonymous said...

Black and White? Mareng Winnie's comments (in PDI) regarding your movement pointed out valid issues against your organization. Some prominent members of your movement are as guilty (or even worse) as the person you're trying to crucify. HYPOCRITES!!!

Anonymous said...

Tama si anonymous. Ooops, anonymous din pala ako. ;-) With all due respect, if BWM is really sincere in their advocacy then why is it aligning itself with worse politicians such as Marcos' camp and Erap's camp? Where's the black and white in there? That's plain hyprocisy. I also read Winnie M. 's comments about BWM. Her point was can the BWM members (especially the politicians & Hyatt 10) honestly claim that they never operated in the gray area?? Let those who are not guilty cast the first stone.

goddess_of_the_chase said...

Anonymous, I agree with you. The opposition failed their legal battles in Congress against Gloria because of their own incompetence. They knew what they were up against but they failed to do their homework. The impeachment was a legal process and they ought to respect its results as members of Congress themselves. If they do not respect their own institution and its processes then they might as well resign.