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senator judges’ explanations on their votes on cj corona’s conviction

May 30, 2012 Leave a comment

source: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/203299/senators%E2%80%99-explanation-of-their-votes-excerpts

Senators’ explanation of their votes (excerpts)

5:05 am | Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

Verdict rebuilds ‘new paradigm of transparency’

EDGARDO ANGARA

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.

PIA  CAYETANO

…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…

FRANKLIN DRILON

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.

Read more…

chief justice trial lessons learned – our reflection on the mirror

May 26, 2012 1 comment

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.

 

 

Post Corona testimony poll : Is Corona Guilty or Not Guilty? (vote here)

May 22, 2012 4 comments

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

the evidence presented by the prosecution that corona needs to answer today

May 22, 2012 Leave a comment

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.

Pulse Asia’s Chief Justice Corona Trial Poll results – the people sees past through prosecution’s incompetence

March 21, 2012 Leave a comment

source: http://pulseasia.com.ph/pulseasia/story.asp?ID=747

  • we are surprised at the high number of 84% of the respondents following the developments of the impeachment rial of chief  justice corona. we thought it would not be this high. after all this is not the president of the country like the erap estrada impeachment, just the chief justice. the erap impeachment getting high numbers will not be a surprise but a chief justice impeachment is.
  • a high number of those who follow the developments say tv is their media choice at 80%. that means many of the people are watching the live coverage of the impeachment trial. they are getting the developments first hand, seeing the drama unfold in front of their eyes.
  • internet for some reason got a very low number – just 1%, we think this is mostly a function of low computer incidence and low internet usage among the poor who accounts for a large majority of the philippine population.
  • radio coming in only at 12% is a shock. radio is the dominant media ownership in the country, almost 100% of homes have radio. for radio to be a non factor in medium choice is very surprising. this means tv has become a most important medium in the country. (the advertising industry need to retool some of theoir thinking on this one.)

  • the defense was trying to make something out of their charge that the impeachment complaint was fast-tracked at the Hour Of Representatives. we really don’t understand why this is important and what it is for but they seem to be saying because it was railroaded at the house, the complaint is invalid, don’t ask us why because we can;t explain it.
  • also we do not think it really matters, the fact is the senate has opened an impeachment court. whether it has been fast-tracked or not no longer matters.
  • this table is a practically a split where respondents can’t decide whether it was fast-tracked or not at he HOR. the numbers are practically tied with 32% saying it was fast-tracked while 38% do not think it was fast-tracked.
  • looks like the defense team has lost his battle.

this chart to us the most important findings of the poll – how people feel about the guilt or innocence of the the chief justice on the charges brought to him bu the HOR (House Of Representatives).

it is important to take note of this from the Pulse Asia website:

The survey fieldwork was conducted from February 26 to March 9, 2012 using face-to-face interviews. The following developments preoccupied Filipinos immediately prior to and during the conduct of the interviews for this survey: (1) the ongoing impeachment trial of Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato C. Corona* ; (2) the arraignment for electoral fraud of former President and incumbent Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo; (3) the death and destruction caused by a 6.9 intensity earthquake in the Visayas on 06 February 2012; (4) the commemoration of the 26th anniversary of EDSA People Power I; (5) the controversies involving a few presidential appointees; (6) the death of Negros Occidental Representative Ignacio Arroyo and the fight over his remains; and (7)  the increase in oil prices, fluctuating power rates, declining headline inflation rate, and the record-breaking performance of the Philippine Stock Exchange.

this survey was conducted while the prosecution was still presenting their witnesses and evidence to the court. the defense has not started any of their presentations yet.

  • the significant difference in those who believe corona is guilty at 47% versus those who believe he is innocent at 5% is a very significant finding. that means at that point in time when the poll was taken, when the prosecution was still making their case, the people was seeing corona as guilty.
  •  we were of the view that the prosecution team was screwing up big time.  we are not lawyers but we can tell they were doing a very bad job. the only time the prosecution did well was when neil tupas, the lead prosecutor delivered his opening speech during the trial. everything after that speech was horrible for the prosecution. he did well because he read a written speech.
  • the corona trial became a sad telenovela of “what did the prosecution do wrong this time? the prosecution delivered – they seemed to have done something new that was wrong on a daily basis. we knew that as senator miriam defensor santiago and the presiding judge himself, senator juan ponce enrile  delivered their most impassioned speeches in the trial berating the prosecution team on their latest blunders, incompetence or errors, senator santiago didn;t even bother to sugar coat her words, she just said it in plain, actually elegant and biting english. wha?!
  • over and beyond that thick muck of prosecution incompetence, the prosecution in reality was able to get past the court evidence and testimonies that to say the least corona needed to explain to the court and the country or evidence and testimony that can be used by the senator judges to convict corona.
  • for the respondents to see through that thick muck of prosecution incompetence and find corona guilty to us is just short of being a miracle or brilliance on the part of the respondents.
  • to be fair the incompetence the prosecution showed was not really on the main point of their existence in the impeachment court, but on the almost and everything  they did outside the court and before the impeachment court came into being.  the fact is they were able to get the court to accept testimony and evidence that the senator judges can use to convict corona.
  • okay,  we stand corrected, the prosecution also showed incompetence during the trial as they were constantly berated by senators santiago and enrile on their lack of knowledge and skills in presenting evidence and testimony of their witnesses. in other words, the senator judges were saying the prosecution did not know how to properly conduct a trial. that of course was a surprise considering the prosecutors are lawyers who were elected congressmen in their districts. apparently, not all lawyers are created equal and these congressmen who are also lawyers were shortchanged on that aspect when God made them lawyers.
  • does that mean the respondents were so brilliantly gifted that they were able to separate the garbage from the prosecution on their lawyering skills versus the evidence they were able to get the court accepted?
  • there is no other explanation for it. it looks like the respondents know what a corrupt official is versus one that is not. or an impeachable chief  justice versus one who is not.
  • we think the people are just so fed up with corrupt and incompetent government officials that it did not matter even if the messenger of the message is being faulted by santiago on a daily basis.

———
more on this next….

prosecution in corona trial needs a superman to do the closing to win the case

March 5, 2012 Leave a comment

the corona impeachment trial has become a telenovela played out on national tv like an afternoon soap but unlike the telenovelas, this one has stopped taking twists and turns, it has in fact been on a single track – a daily watch of what new blunder the prosecution has been up to this time and who among the senator jurors will be giving the prosecution a lecture on their errors and shortcomings. the usual suspects are senator juan pnce enrile and senator miriam defensor santiago and on occasion the defense lead counsel, serafin cuevas.

this took a bizarre, almost  cataclysmic proportion when senator jinggoy estrada  calls out private prosecutor vitaliano aguirre for covering his ears the whole time senator santiago was giving a first class lecture on the prosecuti0n’s latest blunder of the day.

this could have been just another day for the prosecution but senator santiago was particularly volcanic on this day that we were glued to our seat, with cell phone on hand ready to dial emergency 911 to call for an ambulance to go to the senate  just in case senator santiago had a heart attack.

the irony of it all was on this day the prosecution has rested it’s case. in other words senator santiago’s near heart attack volcanic anger and attorney aguirre’s comic or is it cosmic cover-the-ears antic will be the last image, audio and memory the prosecution will be leaving not only in  the minds of the  public but more importantly in the senator jurors’.

for the record, we had called for the replacement of the prosecution team in this trial almost from the very start. although we began  calling for the replacement of congressman neil tupas as lead prosecutor, it became clear to us that most of the members of the prosecution team were also showing incompetence. this incident with aguirre is just an exclamation point to the many that we have seen in the course of the trial.

the prosecution has closed their presentation. unfortunately, they were not able to close on a high note but on a  note of infamy with the image of attorney aguirre’s hands covering his ears.

is it all lost for the prosecution? well, legally speaking, no not yet. the defense still has to present their evidence and counter evidence. even before that step, the prosecution still has to make a formal offer on the evidence that will be accepted by the court. so far what has been done was the evidence has been marked only. there will of course be a legal battle royal when the prosecution does this. it is expected that the defense will obeject to each and every evidence that has been marked.

we do not how this will go and equally important how the defense will do when it is their thing on the court. for all we know it could be as horrible or wosrt for the defense.

while these questions are still to be answered, it is prudent for the prosecution to assume the worst for themselves. based on current trends in the court, the prosecution need to assume they will be at a great disadvantage by closing time.

we think the prosecution’s closing will be most crucial for them., the closing argument is in essence the summary of their case against corona. not only is it the summary but the closing is supposed to be the most persuasive for them. the idea is that this closing will be the last push to get senator jurors to see the guilt of corona and for them to vote to impeach corona.

for this closing, we think the prosecution need to do the following:

  • they don;t just need a lawyer who will do the closing, they need superman to do it for them.. not even clark kent will do, they need superman himself, in his tights, a letter “S” on his chest and a red cape doing the closing.
  • they need attorney superman in his most persuasive and in his clearest and sharpest because the prosecution attorneys on their own have muddled the issues in the case.
  • the prosecution attorneys have drawn so much attention to everything and anything not related to the case or the evidence needed to convict corona that attorney superman will need to blind the senator jurors to these and get them to just focus on the real evidence that they have presented and just convict corona.
  • attorney superman must deliver superhuman logic, superhuman persuasiveness and superhuman clarity.
  • we do not know how the tights and cape will do but this attorney superman need to be well respected by the senator jurors, someone the senator jurors see as at least equal to them in stature if not greater. if they can get john f kennedy or ronald reagan to wear a superman costume, that will do it for sure.
  • the closing speech of the prosecution SHOULD NOT mention the word and the thought “technicality”. mentioning this will just be whining and will not sit well with the senator jurors. sure, the defense has used technicalities every half step of the way, but it is what defense lawyers do, complaining about technicalities will only insult the intelligence fo the senator jurors.
  • the prosecution closing  should completely ignore their stupidity and errors and not mention any of it.  they should all be in denial and hope the senator juroirs do not remember any of it.
  • the closing speech should overcome and actually exploit and turn the  lead defense attorney serafin cuevas’ obsession with lectures to their advantage and a negative for the defense. for sure, attorney cuevas will deliver a lecture in his closing. a lecture is in his DNA, it is unavoidable for him. knowing cuevas will go into a lecture should be turned into an advantage by the prosecution.
  • as peg, the prosecution team should frame the quality of the closing speech and the attorney superman as convincing senator miriam defensor santiago. the speech writer should  write the speech thinking that this is his goal – to write a speech that will convince santiago. discovering the magic formula on that will make them win the case.

is it impossible? no, we do not think so. we have defined here very specific goals and needs. all that the prosecution need to do is deliver on these. they have a lot of time to get it right, around 4 to 5 weeks. but they should start preparing for the close now.

what the prosecution team needs to do is to be more creative and be very goal obsessed. here is a suggestion on the creativity part – they can stay closer to home and just get ninoy aquino or ferdinand marcos to deliver the closing speech, they are two of the country’s top orators and communicators. that is easy-peasy.

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