Senators’ explanation of their votes (excerpts)
Verdict rebuilds ‘new paradigm of transparency’
The Constitution and our statutes oblige every public official to make and submit “a complete disclosure of his assets, liabilities, and net worth in order to suppress any questionable accumulation of wealth.”
This obligatory constitutional rule seeks to eradicate corruption, promote transparency in government and maintain a standard of honesty in the public service.
The prosecution and the defense were one in producing proof that the Chief Justice has bank accounts he did not declare in his SALN. Removing any iota of doubt about this vital fact was the Chief Justice himself who openly admitted before this court that he has four US dollar accounts totaling $2.4 million, and three peso accounts of P80.7 million.
I may grant the Chief Justice’s plea of honest mistake of judgment. But given his broad experience in public law and practice in investment advisory services, his willful and deliberate omission, together with the magnitude of the subject matter, amounts to a culpable violation—thus a failure meriting condemnation.
ALAN PETER CAYETANO
The impeachment court does not simply pass judgment on this specific case, or on this specific Chief Justice. The court action, being far-reaching and precedent-setting, is actually rebuilding a new paradigm of transparency and accountability in public office.
The verdict of this court will affect more than 1.3 million civil or public servants, government employees and officials. It will affect 100 million Filipinos in other countries. It will affect our future.
I cannot agree with the Chief Justice’s interpretation of the law in his explanation of the P80 million and $2.4 million deposits. However, in signing the waiver that allows the Ombudsman to look into his bank accounts, he has set a new standard.
I ask the President to instruct his Cabinet to sign the waivers or resign and leave the government. Lead by following, or get out of the way. Executive, legislative, judiciary. COA, Comelec, BIR, Customs, judges, governors, mayors, barangay captains, congressmen, senators, let us agree on one standard.
…I aslso have difficulty accepting the defense on commingled funds. The fact of commingling, I can accept that but the huge amount involved leaves too much doubt in my mind. In our interpretation of the law, we who hold a position of public trust, must choose the interpretation that will uphold public interest over private interest. Regardless of whether malice or an intent to suppress the truth was present, we must remember that public office is a public trust. Once that trust is gone, we must step down to preserve the integrity of the position we hold…
From the start, I questioned breaches in procedural law and ethical conduct of various participants in the impeachment process—the trial by publicity and the irresponsible hurtling of bloated unverified figures of assets, among others…
The other lesson must go beyond the Chief Justice. It is the call for transparency. I echo that call. Those of us who sit as judges, those who acted as prosecutors and all those in public service should not hide behind our titles…
The Constiturion commands the respondent Chief Justice to file an accurate and complete SALN.
Respondent concealed his luxurious condominiums for five years after they were fully paid. Worse, respondent reported the values of these condominiums at less than 50 percent of their acquisition cost.
Respondent admits he did not declare $2.4 million and P80 million in his SALN. The enormity of respondent’s hidden assets—over P180 million, or 50 times more than his declared cash assets—is scandalous. It is grossly disproportionate to his total income for 10 years of about P27 million. It establishes a prima facie case of ill-gotten wealth under the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.
The Supreme Court dismissed Delsa Flores, a lowly court interpreter, for not reporting in her SALN her stall in a public market.
The Chief Justice must be held to a much higher standard.
Where our Constitution and our laws require disclosure, he chose the path of concealment. He has lost his moral fitness to serve the people. He has betrayed the public trust.
senators who voted to impeach renato corona:
- edgardo angara
- alan peter cayetabo
- pia cayetabo
- franklin drilon
- junggoy estrada
- chiz escudero
- tg guingona
- gringo honasan
- ping lacson
- lito lapid
- loren legarda
- serg osmena
- kiko pangilinan
- koko pimentel
- ralph recto
- bong revilla
- tito sotto
- antonio trillanes
- manny villar
- juan ponce enrile
the impeachment trial of chief justice renato corona will come to an end next tuesday when the senator judges tell the nation their verdict on the case. looking back at what happened and picking up the things that strike us the most could very well be the reflection we see of us as a people and country on a mirror, big picture and details included.
in marketing and advertising, it is standard operating practice to look at the past business year, analyze it and draw up what we call “lessons learned” . these are conclusions, observations and insights that the marketing guy extracts from data and results from the previous year, both mistakes and successes that can be used to anchor the succeeding year’s marketing plans and strategies. the idea is to help ensure the mistakes of the previous year are not repeated and the successes are continued and improved on for the upcoming year.
we will apply a similar process and principle on the chief justice impeachment trial – look back at what happened and draw the things that we think worked and those that did not work. identifying these will hopefully prompt our leaders to re-shape our country to be better and stronger in the future.
this is from the point of view of an ordinary citizen who is not a lawyer whose only basis are first and foremost the live showing on tv of the trial and to some degree readings of newspaper and online articles about the trial.
chief justice impeachment trial lessons learned :
1. the country’s laws on good governance as it applies to government officials have a lot of big loopholes, if not contradictions and room for mis-interpretation, confusion and misuse in interpretation and application. these laws need to be looked at and to fix the problems – the anti-money laundering law, anti-graft & corruption law, SALN law and the ill-gotten wealth law.
i am not a lawyer and i possibly confused the laws and have duplication but that is the impression that i have as an ordinary citizen based on what has happened in the trial.
aside from the apparent loopholes, these laws are not specific enough in defining what is lawful and what is not. law/s recently passed in congress seem to to be inconsistent with law/s passed much earlier. worst, recent laws enacted does not seem to strictly apply or uphold the provisions of the constitution. many of the legal arguments hinged too much on the “spirit of the law” and “intent of the framers” rather than clear cut and obvious definitions.
2. the impeachment process and its rules need to be tightened for an orderly and smooth process to ensure credibility of the process and results. the current impeachment trial process has too many components left to the discretion of the judges and is a large petri dish for misbehavior and abuse by the judges, the defense and prosecution lawyers, witnesses and the media.
while there is good reason to exercising leniency by the judges and the often used Sui generis characterization of the trial, there is just too much of those that the trial has become totally unpredictable and unwieldy.
rules and processes are like walls, they both serve the purpose of keeping things in place inside at the same time preventing things from the outside in wrecking havoc to what is inside the walls. having no walls is a recipe for disarray and collapse which the impeachment trial came close to at certain points.
a tighter impeachment process and rules will not only make it easier for the prosecution and defense lawyers to battle, it will force both parties to make a much more intelligent and high level discourse of the law and the issues tackled in the trial. a well defined playing field and rules will sharpen the whole discussion and debate and thus result to a much clearer presentation and debate of the issues.
intelligence and clarity of the issues in this impeachment trial are both sorely lacking.
3. the senate’s leniency and often used characterization of it being sui generis allowed both parties and others to make a near mockery of the court. it can be argued that this is under point number 2, above, but we are dedicating a point to it as we think this is a very major lesson learned in the trial.
we have seen the court brought to confusion many times in the trial as the senate president bent over backward in allowing both the prosecution and the defense have their way in court.
the senate president probably did that to ensure transparency and show impartiality primarily for the benefit of the general public but we think it also brought in its twin partner of many negatives. both the prosecution and defense took advantage of it and introduced irrelevant issues and arguments in to the trial that in the end the public’s view of the case has become muddled and significantly shaded by irrelevant points.
the general public with a significant number of them being non-lawyers are naturally more pre-disposed to pick up the more interesting points of personal drama, histrionics from the senators and idiocies of the prosecution and defense lawyers. proof – showbiz chismis tv shows get higher ratings than talk shows that discuss national issues and news programs on tv.
in many ways the confusion and irrelevant points were brought to the trial by the impeachment court itself when it refused to deny them and simply sat it out and accepted everything and anything from the prosecution and defense.
4. it is sad that one of the most important legal battles in the country’s history is marked not by brilliance and intelligence but remembered most for the errors. blunders and incompetence of both the prosecution and the defense teams. we are absolutely transfixed on our tv screens as senator judges berate and castigate at different times the defense and prosecution lawyers for their incompetence, poor knowledge of the laws and court procedures and simple bad behavior and lack of proper decorum.
we witnessed defense and prosecution lawyers build themselves up as heroes only to make a complete turn around and turn themselves as complete fools as the trial went by.
spokespersons of both camps have claimed victory as the trialwent along but for the general public who are non-lawyers, that is very hard to appreciate if not rendering us totally clueless on what successes they are talking about as we are very much bombarded and witness the errors and blunders that they commit.
5. there is a lingering bad feeling in the mouth when you witness THE chief justice of THE supreme court in the country use the drama of tears, emotions and illness to argue his case and points of law. the supreme court is the country’s highest office in the judicial system. it is the supreme body that decides for the country in finality matters of law. the court’s decisions have the effect of becoming laws themselves for future generations.
this supreme body is headed by its chief justice who is renato corona. corona holds the highest position in the country’s highest judicial body – his words have the effect of being cast in stone.
but this chief justice did no such thing. rather than defend himself with brilliance of law and the superiority of debate and discourse, the chief justice of the supreme court used tears in his eyes to argue his point, illness to escape debate and emotional stories about himself, his family and his grandson.
we do not even think this drama or the gimmicks that corona performed on live tv will not be allowed in hearings at the supreme court. malice is done to the judicial process and the reputation of the chief justice when he himself performs such acts in a hearing in court.
in twitter we said that we should perhaps call mr. corona from now on as the cheap justice of the supreme court for his cheap tricks drama. we have also wondered whether law schools in the philippines will now offer acting classes to law students to teach them how to properly get their tears to drop on cue or declare illness and set up a walk out in dramatic fashion like saying the words “the chief justice of the philippines wishes to be excused”.
it is regrettable that the the chief of the supreme court himself has set a bad example for all lawyers to see. we were expecting that the man with the highest level of position in the judicial system would actually take the debate at a high level and yet he performed one of the lowest forms of strategy in winning a court case, and all done on live national tv.
we do not know what the verdict of the senate impeachment court will be but it is plain to see that we can already lay claim to verdicts on the conduct of the trial and the laws that are supposed to govern the trial. this is over and beyond corona, the senator judges and the congressmen, this is about the whole country and our pride as a people for future generations of filipinos.
today, chief justice corona will testify at the impeachment court trying his case. everyone is saying this is the pivotal point in this trial. his testimony will either nmake or break corona in the trial.
after his testimony at the impeachment trial do you think he is guilty or not guilty?
for the summary of evidence that have been presented in the trial, scroll down or go to this link: http://wp.me/pnw03-1zB
this is an excellent summary from GMA7 new. we are posting it here for your appreciation. thanks to GMA7 for such great work . (source: http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/257127/news/specialreports/as-corona-trial-resumes-here-s-a-summary-of-the-evidence-so-far)
note: for easier reading, double click image to enlarge it
As Corona trial resumes, here’s a summary of the evidence so far
BY KIMBERLY JANE TAN & ANDREO CALONZO, GMA NEWS May 6, 2012 10:39pm
On May 7, the Senate sitting as an impeachment court resumes the trial of impeached Chief Justice Renato Corona. The defense team is expected to continue its presentation of witnesses and evidence in a bid to debunk the arguments of the prosecution, who have accused Corona of betrayal of public trust and culpable violation of the Constitution.GMA News Online has prepared the infographic below to help our audience wade through the evidence presented so far during the first 34 days of the trial for Articles II, III, and VII of the impeachment complaint. The prosecution has rested its case and the tables will be continuously updated with the response from the defense team as Corona’s lawyers proceed with their presentations in the impeachment trial.
for easier reading, double click image to enlarge it.
for easier reading, double click image to enlarge it.
for easier reading, double click image to enlarge it.
for easier reading, double click image to enlarge it.
very soon, probably next week, the event we have all been waiting for will happen – chief justice corona will testify at the impeachment court trial.
after many weeks of corona and his defense lawyers consistently and strongly saying he will not testify in court, a miracle happened and his lawyers said in open court that the chief justice will testify on the condition that the ombudsman and others who have charged that he owns $10M are sent subpoenas to appear in court.
so far, all those he wanted to appear in court have signified their intent to appear in court. with no more barriers for an appearance in court. corona testifying seems like a sure thing.
when corona testifies, that means it’s open city for corona at the court. the prosecution lawyers and the senator judges can ask corona whatever questions they like.
senator kiko pangilinan tweeted just today asking for netizens to send him questions that they want corona to answer at the hearing. we are following senator pangilinan’s lead and opening up this blog for netizens to post the questions they want corona to answer during the hearing.
to send in your questions, hit the reply button in this post and type in your questions. we will be letting senator pangilinan about this post here for him to check out your questions for cj corona.