By Raïssa Robles
Four and not just three senator-judges were sworn into office by no less than Chief Justice Renato Corona, the very man they recently swore to convict or acquit in a fair impeachment trial.
[UPDATE: Senator-judge Juan Ponce Enrile, presiding officer of the Impeachment Court, also took his oath of office before CJ Corona. That makes four and not three senator-judges.
I’d like to thank commenter Jeje for sending me this link to a Manila Bulletin report saying:
Enrile takes oath before Corona
By EDMER F. PANESA
June 19, 2010, 11:29am
Nearly two weeks before embarking on another six-year term as senator, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile on Friday took his oath of office before Chief Justice Renato C. Corona.
Enrile, who won re-election after placing fifth in the May 10 senatorial polls, said his swearing-in before the Chief Justice was his way of showing respect for the Supreme Court and to discourage divisiveness among the three branches of government.
“I came here to take my oath before the highest magistrate of the land. And this I do in order to recognize the institutions of our government. We operate under a republican-democratic form of government where powers of government are divided into three parts – the Executive, Legislative, and Judiciary,” Enrile told reporters when interviewed after the oath-taking.
As head of the Senate – which is one half of Congress – Enrile said he finds it necessary to take his oath before “the highest officer, magistrate of the third department of the government, who is no less than the Chief Justice of the land.”
Enrile also reacted at President-elect Aquino decision who broke the tradition by not allowing the Chief Justice to administer his oath.
“We should not create division. We should create an atmosphere and an environment of unity in spite of our diversity,” Enrile said.]
My thanks @Rhol for the photo below of Presiding Senator-judge Enrile taking his oath of office before CJ Corona in 2010. Thanks, also @Maria Fema Duterte and @Mark Madrona for sharing with me the same photo on Facebook:
While a fourth [Update – fifth] senator-judge took his oath of office before the now detained Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who had insisted on appointing Corona as chief magistrate during a constitutional ban on presidential appointments.
Everytime a politician wins an election, he or she carefully chooses the official who is to administer the oath of office. The momentous occasion consequently results in a bond being formed between both state officials. A photograph of that treasured moment is usually snapped for posterity.
Following their electoral victory in May 2010, three senators opted to take their oath of office before Chief Justice Corona even after his very public snubbing by the newly-elected president of the Philippine Republic, Benigno Aquino III.
PNoy demonstrated his belief that Corona was an illegitimate CJ by refusing to be sworn into office by him on June 30, 2010 at the Luneta Grandstand in Rizal Park.
These three senator-judges apparently believed otherwise:
Senator-judge Miriam Defensor-Santiago:
Senator-judge Pilar (Pia) Cayetano:
And Senator-judge Vicente Sotto III, who is also the Senate Majority Floor Leader who steers the deliberations in the Impeachment Court:
The senator-judges also demonstrated their belief by being sworn into office by CJ Corona. In so doing, the senator-judges also showed that they were backing CJ Corona in his actions as chief magistrate.
A fourth senator-judge, Bong Revilla Jr., chose to be sworn into office by Gloria Arroyo, whom President Aquino had openly accused of high crimes and of appointing Corona in order to shield her from criminal suits.
Senator-judge Revilla apparently did not share that belief. He specifically chose Mrs Arroyo, his party boss, to take his oath of office. He and Senator Manuel Lito Lapid were the only candidates of Arroyo’s Lakas-Kampi Party who managed to squeak through.
Senator-judge Miriam Santiago’s ties with the Corona camp go a long way back
Senator-judge Santiago openly backed early on Corona’s “midnight apppointment” – or one that was done within the period banning political appointments during elections. According to Santiago’s blog (probably maintained for her):
Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago, a constitutional law expert, said that the issue of Chief Justice Renato Corona’s assumption to office has already been laid to rest under the doctrine of res judicata, meaning that it can no longer be relitigated in court, because it has already been decided with finality.
“After the Supreme Court decision in De Castro v. Judicial and Bar Council last March, which settled the issue, any petition is now precluded, on the theory of so-called collateral estoppel,” she said.
Santiago warned critics to obey the rule of law, which she defined as “the doctrine that general constitutional principles are the result of judicial decisions determining the right of private individuals in the courts.
“The problem with the critics is that they mistake the law as it is; with the law as it ought to be, according to their layman’s interpretation. A line has to be drawn between the rule of law and the dystopian concept of freewheeling ethics,” she said.
Again, it wasn’t I who found out about Santiago’s close relations with Corona, with Senate Impeachment Court presiding officer Juan Ponce Enrile and with former Senator Francisco Tatad.
Tatad is one of Corona’s closest friends and allies who is closely working with Corona’s defense lawyers and who openly castigated Senator-judge Franklin Drilon for being biased against Corona.
It was a commenter on my blog named Sui Generis correctly pointed out that Tatad was Senator-judge Miriam Santiago’s vice-presidential running mate when she lost the presidency to Fidel Ramos in 1992.
[UPDATE March 5, 2012: a commenter named Jett Rink correctly pointed out that Tatad was Senator-judge Miriam Santiago’s vice-presidential running-mate in 1998, not 1992. Tatad won a Senate seat in 1992 for the first time.Thanks, Jett.]
Here is Sui Generis’ take on Senator-judge Santiago:
In 1969, she was recruited by then Secretary of Justice Juan Ponce Enrile to be his Special Assistant. Part of her job was drafting speeches on law and justice for President Marcos.
Her most sensitive assignment as special assistant to Enrile had been to prepare a confidential memorandum for President Marcos on the advisability of declaring martial law. She cooperated with Marcos after the declaration.
When she ran for President in 1998, Francisco Tatad is his Vice President under her Peoples Reform Party. Tatad is now publicly supporting Corona.
On November 20, 2003 her son Alexander Robert Santiago allegedly committed suicide. He was brought to East Avenue Medical Center. However, Dr. Amy Banaag said the gunshot did not seem to have been fired at close range.
Law enforcement agencies of the government were not allowed to conduct scene of the crime investigation. She had the cadaver of her son immediately cremated, thus destroying, suppressing and concealing the very corpus delicti of the offense.
At her son’s wake in Christ the King chapel Miriam said “”I AM removing myself from politics to fulfill my promise to him.” In 2004 she again ran for Senator and won.
Whatever happened to her promise?
In 2009, A former Malacañang lawyer Nombraan Pangcoga filed a petition at (Comelec) seeking to disqualify Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago from running again as senator in the 2010 elections, citing her “insanity” , among other as ground.
A certain Efren G. Battad also filed a complaint against her on January 7, 2010, although the charges against her were dismissed by the SC the allegations are interesting and might need further investigation.
Miriam Santiago faces disbarment complaint
She won re-election as senator in 2010 and Takes Oath Before CJ Corona.
She was also elected to a nine-year tenure as judge of the International Criminal Court (ICC) on December 12, 2011.
She finally meet her match on February 29, 2012. My new hero, Atty. Aguirre did the unthinkable, he protested by simply covering his ear and courageously engaged the Marcos trained witch in a verbal tussle. Her BP shoot up to 190/90 while Aguirre won the hearts of many Filipino.
She is set to leave for The Hague to take oath and assume office on March 9, 2012. She requested for deferment of oath taking due to insanity, este, medical reasons.
Connect the dots…
Miriam working for Enrile during the Marcos Regime.
Tatad is the Propaganda Minister of Marcos.
Miriam and Tatad team up for the highest office.
Tatad is publicly supporting Corona.
My intuition tells me there is a conspiracy here.
No wonder Miriam is so rabid to the prosecution.
Personally, I would still give all four senator-judges the benefit of the doubt. We don’t really know yet how they will vote on CJ Corona’s case.
Still, all four senator-judges bear close watching to see how their ties to and perception of CJ Corona would affect their own verdict of him.
do not forget this one…….
I wonder if it’s possible to disbar Sen. Miriam Santiago. The IBP Code of Conduct states that
“Rule 8.01 – A lawyer shall not, in his professional dealings, use language which is abusive, offensive or otherwise improper.”
It would have to be someone with balls of steel. Perhaps if De Lima isn’t too busy?
e.a. pascual says
if you wish you can add your signature to the petition now going around for the international court to reconsider and reject miriam santiago. she is unfit to be a judge in any court.
link to the petition:
Pero tama kaya ang desisyon ko? Hehe. Hindi kaya mas maganda ipa-exile na lang sa Netherlands?
Added, 1882 signatures as of date.