April 20, 2024

The tale of Robinhood is about a rebel who stole from the rich and gave to the poor.
He fought for the cause of the common tao thereby endearing himself to them and in the process, immortalizing his name.
Whether Robinhood is a real person or a myth remains highly debated by literary scholars.
In the Philippines, though, there is a real and a living Robinhood. He is known by his screen name Robin Padilla. He was elected as senator. He is as popular and charismatic as any celebrity can be. He projects an image that lives by the virtues of his mythical namesake and emulates the same character who championed the plight of the ordinary citizens. However, no matter how much he tries to live up to his illustrious namesake, he is falling short.
A substantial number of those who voted for Padilla are clamoring for his removal via impeachment.
They cited three reasons. First, is the scandalous manner by which his wife, Marielle, desecrated the Senate when she made it as her personal skin clinic. She had herself infused with vitamin C drip in the office of her husband. Second, is the stance he took when there was a deliberation regarding the encroachment by Chinese militia and personnel in the disputed West Philippine Sea. He seemed to be siding with China. And, third, is his reaction to the warrant of arrest that was issued by the Senate against Apollo Quiboloy, the embattled self-appointed son of god. He is obviously biased and is moving heaven and Earth to have the warrant lifted.
The aforesaid reasons are turning-off those who believed that Padilla will make a good senator. Many of his supporters have changed their minds and are regretting their decision to put him in office. “Impeach him, impeach him,” they now roar. The question begging to be answered is, can Padilla be impeached based on the three reasons as stated above?
Sadly, Padilla cannot be impeached. He is not an impeachable official. As a senator, he is beyond the ambit and reach of the impeachment process.
Under the Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines, only the President, the Vice President, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and Constitutional Officers like the commissioners of the Commission on Elections, Commission on Audit, and the Ombudsman may be impeached. All other officers, elected or appointed, may be removed from office but not by impeachment.
Hence, no matter the perception of the public on how irregular or scandalous or anomalous or incompetent Padilla is in discharging his function as a senator, he cannot be removed by impeachment.
The only way to remove Padilla is by other means like recall or a vote by his peers that he is no longer desirable or fit to be a senator. The first is tedious, expensive and long because a recall entails a collection of signatures of a percentage of all the voters to be submitted for a referendum. The second is an act of his colleagues and, therefore, is unlikely to happen since the senators, much like doctors and lawyers, protect their own. Thus, no matter how disgruntled or dissatisfied people are regarding his performance as a senator, Padilla is most likely here to stay.
Well, his bashers must learn to live with a Padilla in the Senate and just wait until the next election. After all, there are only five years remaining in his term and who knows, he may be out by then.