Davide accepts an award from then Secretary of National Defense Gilbert Teodoro at the UN headquarters in New York City, September 2009. Davide then hosted lunch for the party of Secretary Teodoro.
The case filed in 2003 was not the arbitrary act of one person. It was endorsed by 93 congressmen representing 41% of the members of the House of Representatives.
The 93 congressmen came from different political parties, not just Teodoro's former party, the Nationalist People’s Coalition or NPC. There were 226 members in the House of Representatives during the 12th Congress in 2001-2004. Only 45 were from the NPC.
Some congressmen later bowed to pressure and withdrew their signatures, but the remaining number was still more than one-third of the total members of the House.
As a matter of fact, many of the congressmen who endorsed the complaint are now prominent members of the Liberal Party and Nacionalista Party.
The case originated from concerns over possible misuse of the Judiciary Development Fund (JDF) that were raised in June 2002 by judicial employees of Naga City and nearby areas, including parts of the congressional district of NPC Rep. Felix William Fuentebella of the 3rd district of Camarines Sur. Fuentebella took charge of the investigation.
On July 22, 2002, the House of Representatives adopted House Resolution No. 460 filed by Rep. Fuentebella directing the House Committee on Justice to conduct an inquiry. The Court declined to submit the documents that Fuentebella and the House Committee on Justice asked for in connection with the inquiry, citing its fiscal autonomy.
Impeachment is not the same as conviction. Impeachment is a process that allows a transparent investigation to take place. The Supreme Court, however, said no impeachment proceedings could be initiated against the same official more than once within a period of one year.
Former President Joseph Estrada filed an earlier impeachment complaint against Davide and seven other justices in June 2003, accusing them of violating the Constitution and plotting his ouster in 2001. Estrada's complaint was dimissed October 22, 2003. The congressmen filed their complaint October 23, 2003.
The opinion of legal experts was split on whether or not the Court should have allowed the inquiry. The ones who disagreed with the decision felt that the Court should not have interfered in the impeachment proceedings, because it was the only way the Legislature could exercise checks and balances on the Judiciary. The ones who agreed with the decision felt the Court had to dismiss the inquiry to protect its independence.
A vote was conducted in the House on November 10, 2003 to decide if the articles of impeachment should be transmitted to the Senate despite the decision of the Supreme Court. Of the congressmen present, 115 voted to accept the Court's decision, while 77 voted against it.
The House members agreed that amendments to PD 1949 should be considered to give Congress the explicit right to look into the Judiciary's use of the JDF in the future. This would provide a check on the Commission on Audit (COA), whose head is appointed by the President. The COA declared there was no fund misuse.
Chief Justice Davide retired from the Supreme Court in 2005. He was appointed Ambassador/Permanent Representative of the Permanent Mission of the Philippines to the United Nations by President Arroyo in 2007.