A Numbers Game – The Merci Impeachment Trial


The trial for the impeachment of the Philippine Ombudsman is in the offing. It will take 2/3 of the present total members of the senate to impeach the ombudsman. There are presently 23 senators since the 24th seat was left vacant by President Aquino. Two-thirds of 23 is 15.3. And since there is no .3 person, the total number to convict her is only 15 and not 16, as others claim. If the Ombudsman gets 8 votes, she will still be impeached because the total 15 was met. So Atty. Gutierrez needs 9 senators to vote for her acquittal.

As of the present counting, there are four senators who are allies of Pres. GMA. These are – Senators Arroyo, Lapid, Revilla and Zubiri. Senator Miriam Santiago however earlier manifested her disgust on the Lower House’s impeachment proceeding against the Ombudsman. That makes likely 5 candidates for Atty. Gutierrez. She still needs 4. There are but some senators who are considered dark horses in this number’s game. These are Sotto, Marcos, Enrile, Villar, Legarda, and Angara. If the Ombudsman can vie any 4 combinations from these senators, then she will win her case.

But there are some facts that we have to further consider in the voting. Jackie Enrile, Edgardo Angara Jr., Jose Zubiri III, and Mark Villar, all voted “yes” for the impeachment of Merci in the Congress Floor. Will the votes of these sons and brother translate in the Senate Floor? Senator Lacson has now returned and his vote is really much needed by the impeachment proponents. Will the burial of Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani be a tit-for-tat for a ‘yes’ vote at the Senate Floor.

One most likely scenario is the use of the national survey to scare senators to vote with the the desire of the people. I bet one of the questions would be, “Will you vote for the Senator who opposes the impeachment of the Ombudsman?”

Whatever shall be the result, it will be a huge spectacle for the country. It is history in the making.


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