By Raïssa Robles
I thought I would try an experiment here by updating while covering the closing arguments of the trial of the Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona.
UPDATE, May 28,2012, 7:19 PM
We all did it, guys.
The entire Filipino nation went through a tedious, grinding process to make a head of a branch of government accountable without anyone successfully resorting to a coup or a constitutional crisis.
An impeachment is part of the maturation of democracy.
And we did it, without any foreign intervention.
Of course, the process is not yet complete. If the vote is acquittal tomorrow, will hell break lose? Or only on the Internet?
If conviction, will the Supreme Court come to Chief Justice Corona’s defense?
The latest report I’m getting is 20 for conviction. But of course that’s unverified.
A lot of people must be busy all through tonight. Walang tulugan yan sa gapangan :)
Fariñas put several points very clearly and memorably
1. First is that Corona’s defense is one big palusot, intended to awkwardly defend unexplained wealth
2. Second is that Corona failed to declare 98 per cent of his cash wealth
3. Third is that when he had the choice, Corona opted not to declare 98 per cent of his cash wealth
Senator-Judge Miriam looks sternly while Prosecutor-Congressman Rodolfo Farinas speaks to the nation. His somewhat probinsiyano accent in Tagalog probably went down big with the nation.
But he had to make the case with the judges first.
Senator-Judge Joker Arroyo looks deep in thought. Perhaps contemplating his political future? He CAN run again. But which party would have him?
Would Erap’s party field him, knowing he was the one who exposed the Jose Velarde account as the congressional prosecutor in Estrada’s 2001 trial?
As for Senator-Judge Pia Cayetano, how does she feel about rendering a verdict on the high government official who had sworn her in as a senator in the first place.
Three other senator-judges were sworn into their office in 2010 by Corona, the very man they have to judge now. They are: Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, Miriam Santiago, Pia Cayetano and Vicente Sotto.
Please see my story –
CJ Corona swore into office four senator-judges: GMA swore in one
Did Senator-Judge Edgardo Angara have a headache?
Former Supreme Court Associate Justice Serafin Cuevas has just finished speaking. He seems to be off his rhythm. His cadence is all wrong.
Here below is a screen cap of Sen.-Judge Lito Lapid listening to Cuevas.
The ANC anchors are talking about the possibility that perhaps Cuevas is really not addressing the senator-judges but the justices of the Supreme Court.
That Cuevas is laying the groundwork for running to the SC on this.
Hmmm. House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte wants in on the trial. I thought he was satisfied being mayor of Quezon City or being the House Speaker. Can a Senate run be in the offing?
Senate presiding officer Juan Ponce Enrile is asking the defense what in your opinion would be the injury to be prevented, or prejudice to be avoided warranting the depositor of a foreign currency deposit to be permitted not to include his foreign currency deposits in his SALN if he is a public officer or a public employee?
Cuevas – the probability of kidnapping, extortion and so on, especially with the trend of criminality today.
Enrile – was that contemplated by the laws? Related to this first question of mine, will a public officer or employee who maintains a foreign currency deposit incur the punitive penalty of RA 6426 if he would reflect that deposit in his SALN?
Cuevas– I do not see that probability but it would amount to a vitiated consent
Enrile – you are forgetting that the law allows the exposure of a FCDU by express provision of RA 6426 if the depositor himself would do it. There’s no secrecy law in this country that prohibits, or inhibits or proscribes the depositor from revealing his own deposits. What is prohibited is for third parties to reveal it. Therefore they are penalized. But the depositor is not.
Enrile – do you consider that sentence as a madnatory provision that requires to be obeyed by a public officer/employee of the PH? A publiic officer or employee, shall, upon assumption of office and as often thereafter as may be provideed by law, submit a declaration under oath of his assets, liabilities and net worth. Do you consdier that command of the people or was it something that can be disregarded?
Cuevas – I don’t think it must be something disregarded . But there are rights of the despositor that arises from a different law.
Enrile – if this is a sovereign command, will disobedience of this command constitute a culpable violation of the Consitution?
Cuevas – I would not … unless that facts are known to me.
Enrile – I’m sure all of us graduates of UP went through roman law. What is culpa?
Cuevas – intentional
Enrile – No. There are four kinds of culpa… We’ll go to elementary school book in roman law. What is culpa?
Cuevas – I’m not in a very good position to recall. Maybe I was absent when it was taken.
Enrile – Maybe that’s your bad luck. What is the difference between culpa and dolus?
Cuevas – maybe negligence.
Is Enrile trying to indicate that perhaps one does not even have to say one displayed good faith or bad faith in not disclosing his wealth? The mere fact of not disclosing so much wealth already means a display of bad faith?
This reminds me Corona’s landmark decision involving the Marcoses’ ill-gotten wealth stashed in Swiss banks. Corona ruled that the court need not even establish the money trail or establish whether or not it was ill-gotten. The mere fact that it was grossly disproportionate to the salaries he earned was enough to establish that this was ill-gotten wealth.
For this very important day, Senator-Judge Bongbong Marcos is sartorially correct, with his tie color-coordinated with his justice robe. Wonder how he will vote.
Will he vote to convict the very man who deprived his family of nearly a billion dollars in Swiss deposits or acquit him because he does not want the son of the “usurper” Cory Aquino to be politically stronger?
In the end, the senator-judges will vote while weighing how it will help or harm their political future and how the same kind of weapons thrown against Corona can be used against them.
Not an easy task.
I hear voting percentages like 20-4 for conviction but I’ll wait for the actual voting.
An abstention is actually an acquittal vote.
Sixteen votes are needed to convict.
I can only think of two other cliffhanger Senate votes that really, really mattered to the life of the nation. One was the vote on whether or not to retain the US bases. The other was on the agrarian reform law.
After the trial, Enrile can finish his auto-biography. He was the ultimate outsider who became THE insider to vast wealth and power.
I recall him as a much younger man. It was during Martial Law when I first interviewed him and he was being intrigued against by the late Armed Forces Chief Fabian Ver and Imelda Marcos. Enrile was then positioning himself to become Ferdinand Marcos’ successor.
I recall that he had this captivating smell of power about him.
Some people just exude power. I’m afraid that Prosecutor-Congressman Niel Tupas does not.
Mark San Pablo says
Great post as always. I have a correction or two, though.
Joker Arroyo CANNOT run again (in 2013, I mean). His second consecutive term ends June 30, 2013. So can’t Manny Villar, Ed Angara, Kiko Pangilinan, and Ping Lacson. They first won together in 2001 and last in 2007.
Sen. Santiago is like a robot. She doesn’t use conscience, she doesn’t apply what is morally right, or practical approaches. She’s so confined to what is written and stated in the books of laws. In some cases that attitude would be very useful. But to arrive and to know the truth and to serve real justice sometimes or even most of the time someone should not confine themselves to what is written and literal interpretation of laws. Her frustration to a lot of things in our country is understandable, what she said before she cast her verdict about why we are one of the most corrupt is very true..We don’t really know how she will behave in the International court, perhaps she will do good because she won’t face her frustrations there which is her countrymen and her country’s problems. But I think without her in this country at this moment and with this current administration will be better for her and for us Filipinos as well..I may be wrong but that’s what I think.:)
Mark San Pablo says
You’re right, Peter. Miriam Defensor-Santiago is a brilliant person, so brilliant she almost won the presidency in 1992 were it not for the negative propaganda some people spread days before the 1992 presidential election (she’s Brenda, for example, for brain-damaged). I particularly abhor her bullying of witness Harvey Keh last May 16 and her insane and misdirected explanation of her vote last Tuesday.
Like you, I would want this crazy woman to go to ICC immediately. I’d like to see how she behaves there. And to those who are lobbying for her non-acceptance by the International Criminal Court, leave her alone. Let her be. Better a Miriam in the Hague than a Miriam in the Philippines. We’ll miss her, yes, but on second thought, we won’t.
Yes sir. Perhaps she really knows the truth and she knows Corona was really guilty but due to her bias, close-mindedness towards the Corona case and her hatred of the prosecution team she still chose to render a not-guilty verdict. Given the circumstances and the obvious guilt and lies of the Coronas what she did was so unpatriotic and selfish, just like the 2 others who voted not-guilty, Joker cause of paranoia and also close-mindedness, Marcos because of very obvious reasons. The rest who voted guilty, I can’t say all of them were really sincere, some of them could certainly just did it because of the upcoming elections but Villar is a complete head shaker, what he did is a shame, the guy is a safety first and an opportunist..
You’re right. MDS knows that Corona is guilty but that doesn’t concern her. Her concern is the “technical/process” aspect of it.
Based on her speech, she also confessed her guilt and assumes that everyone else does the same thing…therefore they should acquit Corona. Flawed logic through and through. One thing is that is clear as mud is why she Tupas has that “raging” effect on her. Is it because Tupas headed the prosecution or there is something more personal behind it…something else Your guess is as good as mine.
Whatever the reason Villar voted, we should take it. It helped deliver the verdict.
One thing that was clear is that a lot of people showed their true colors in that Impeachment Trial…It’s a victory for the people and I hope it won’t be just that..
Joe d says
I fully agree with both Peter and Mark San Pablo said about Miriam Defensor Santiago,
Except for their desire to banish her to the International Court of Justice, at the Hague, purportedly so the Phillippines will be better off by getting rid of her.
Having watched and heard her unmitigated tantrums and crazy posturings, am absolutely sure, it is dishonor not honor she will bring to the country. To avoid this debacle, who ever nominated her to this prestigious court should withdraw the nomination. If not, then prevent her from sitting in the ICJ.
Canisio Vertido says
Thanks Raissa. Please continue your good work. I enjoy reading your articles and exposes. They are all enlightening. More power to you..
jorge bernas says
THANK YOU LORD OUR BELOVED GOD AT DININIG MO ANG AMING MGA PANALANGIN AT SANA UMPISA NA ITO NANG AMING MGA PANGARAP NA MATUPAD PARA SA BAYAN. PATNUBAYAN MO PO KAMI NA MAGKAISA SA DAAN MATUWID AT TAMANG LANDAS. PATULOY MO PO KAMING SUBAYBAYAN SA AMING GINAGAWA AT SANA MAGTAGUMPAY KAMI SA IYONG TULONG. AMEN.