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 –
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.