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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.

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more on this next….

CoronaGate: day 1 Chief Justice Corona Impeachment Trial – opening statement for the defense by eduardo de los amheles

January 17, 2012 Leave a comment

(Following is the full text of the opening statement of the defense, read by Atty. Eduardo De Los Angeles, in the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona at the Senate.)

Your Honors,

My Countrymen:

Good afternoon.

During the past few days, Prosecutors happily displayed pictures of the Bellagio and a list of some 45 properties, supposedly owned by the Chief Justice, to create the impression that he accumulated ill-gotten wealth. In fact, the Chief Justice owns only 5 real properties.

Yet, the Complaint, which contains 8 grounds for impeachment, does not accuse the Chief Justice of acquiring ill-gotten wealth. He is accused of graft and corruption only for refusing to account for the Judiciary Development Fund or JDF. Even with regard to his statements of assets, liabilities and networth or SALN, the issue is whether or not the alleged failure to disclose violates the principle of accountability.

The pictures of the Bellagio and the bloated list of titles are, therefore, irrelevant to this trial.

This impeachment finds its roots in President Aquino’s fight against corruption and his perception that the Supreme Court is a hindrance to his quest. He believes that the Supreme Court protects former President Gloria Arroyo. On the other hand, the defense believes that President Aquino is antagonistic to the Court because of its ruling in the Hacienda Luisita case.

The nobility of President Aquino’s fight against corruption cannot be questioned. It is respectfully submitted, however, that in his fight, the President and the Executive Department are duty-bound to scrupulously observe an abiding respect for the Constitutional rights of every one of us.

The 8 Articles of Impeachment can actually be classified into 2 categories. First, those that involve decisions of the Supreme Court (Articles I, III, IV, V, VI, VII). And, second, those that pertain to the non-disclosure of the SALN of the Chief Justice, and his alleged refusal to account for the JDF. (Articles II and VIII).

Let me first address the latter. Complainants accuse the Chief Justice of allegedly refusing to account for the JDF. The documentary evidence will prove the contrary. And, with respect to his SALN, the defense will establish that in accordance with law, the Chief Justice annually files his SALN with the Clerk of Court of the Supreme Court, who has legal custody of such documents. We shall show that the Clerk of Court is restricted from disclosing the SALNs by resolutions first issued during the term of Chief Justice Marcelo Fernan way back in 1989. In ligt of current developments, the Chief Justice has already caused these resolutions to be included in the agenda of the Supreme Court for re-evaluation.

With respect to the decisions, the complainants made a tally of selected cases to show that the Supreme Court was biased. This is not so. First, it is not fair to handpick decisions that supposedly favor the Arroyo administration; all the decisions of the Supreme Court must be considered. Second, there are several decisions against the former President and her administration. For example, in Islamic Da’wah Council of the Philippines v. Office of the Executive Secretary, the Chief Justice himself penned the decision declaring former President Arroyo’s Executive Order No. 46 null and void. Third, in any decision, the Supreme Court always bases its judgment on sound legal grounds.

Take the case of the Truth Commission. The defense will establish that the Supreme Court was not biased towards the Arroyo administration. Aming ipapakita na tama ang desisyon dito. Nilabag ng Executive Order No. 1 ang Equal Protection Clause dahil ang pag-imbestiga kay Ginang Arroyo ang tanging layunin ng Truth Commission. Moreover, the Supreme Court even suggested a cure for the defect by not limiting the probe to the Arroyo administration. But the Executive Department stubbornly refused to adopt such simple amendment.

The defense will also explain that when the Supreme Court issued a TRO enjoining Secretary Leila De Lima from enforcing her Watchlist Order, the Supreme Court acted in accordance with the Constitution and jurisprudence. Hukuman po lamang ang maaaring magbigay ng Hold Order kapag mayroon nang naisampang criminal case. Ngunit, noong panahong iyon, wala pang naisasampang criminal case si Secretary De Lima laban kay Ginang Arroyo kahit, bago pa dito, matagang nang naghain ng reklamo ang Akbayan for Plunder. Bakit naman po natin sinisisi si Chief Justice? Di po ba’t malinaw na ang Exective Department ang may pagkukulang sa kaso ni Ginang Arroyo?

I remember a Secretary of Justice who aimed to rid our country of corruption. His name is Jose W. Diokno. He secured several search warrants and raided the offices and homes of Harry Stonehill, a rich American businessman who was alleged to have bribed government officials. To set an example, Secretary Diokno sought to prosecute Mr. Stonehill. Using the search warrants, the raiding teams seizes truck-loads of incriminating documents, including a “blue-book” containing the names of the bribed government officials. Yet, after 3 days, the Supreme Court issued a TRO preventing Secretary Diokno from using all the seized documents. Tulad ng marami, nagtaka ako: paano ito nangyari? After I read the decision penned by Chief Justice Roberto Concepcion, I understood. The decision explained that the search warrants were void and the seized documents inadmissible in evidence because the warrants did not specify the things to be seized, as required by the Constitution.

The Stonehill case is strikingly similar to the crusade of President Aquino. In both, there are crusading officials who want to eliminate corruption. In both, the public overwhelmingly support these officials. In both, the officials unfortunately transgressed the Constitution. And in both, the Supreme Court stepped in and issued adverse and unpopular decisions because its task is to always uphold the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

The House also complains that the Chief Justice betrayed the public trust when the Supreme Court decided on the cityhood of 16 municipalities, the creation of a new district in Camarines Sur, and the conversion of the Dinagat Island into a province. Aba, nakakalimutan na yata nila na sila ang naglikha nitong mga batas na ito. Now that the Supreme Court has upheld what they did, sila pa ang nagagalit at nagmamadaling magsampa ng impeachment case laban kay Chief Justice. Ano bang kalokohan yan?

At eto pa po, sabi nila, this impeachment is not against the Supreme Court but aimed to make the Chief Justice accountable for his personal actions. All decisions are, however, rendered by the Supreme Court, never by the Chief Justice alone. Isa lamang po ang boto ng Chief Justice at hindi niya kontrolado ang ibang mga mahistrado. Each Justice votes according to his own opinion. Taliwas sa sinasabi nila Congressman Tupas, wala pong voting bloc dito.

Your Honors, in performing its responsibility under the Constitution, the Supreme Court as a co-equal branch of government is now being assaulted and criticized. It is our humble submission that in upholding the Supreme Court and the Chief Justice cannot be considered as obstacles to clean government or to the President’s vision to realize his “daang matuwid.” In upholding the Constitution and in safeguarding individual rights, the Supreme Court and the Chief Justice cannot be considered the enemies of the people. Precisely, they protect individual rights and therefore do not betray public trust.

Today, the House of Representatives and the Executive Department have joined all their might, power and resources to impeach the Chief Justice. This impeachment sends a chilling threat to the Supreme Court to withhold the exercise of its judicial power and just let the President have his way.

Unfortunately, his obsessive pursuit of his goal has, at times, resulted in the infringement of the law. It has also brought the branches of government into collision, and now it divides the nation. During this crucial moment in history, we fervently pray that you, our Honorable Senators will listen, consider the evidence and as your solemn oath declares, do impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws of the Philippines.

May God Bless us all.

CoronaGate: Day 1 video of Chief Justice Renato Corona Impeachment Trial

January 17, 2012 Leave a comment

CoronaGate : Day 1 Chief Justice Corona Impeachment Trial – Rep Niel Tupas’ opening statement for the prosecution

January 17, 2012 1 comment

this is history being made at the senate in the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Corona. we will be posting the important speeches and developments in this blog.

Following is the full text of the opening statement for the prosecution, read by Iloilo Rep. Niel C. Tupas Jr., in the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona at the Senate

As public servants, we took an oath to uphold the people’s will at all times. All who hold positions in the government of our Republic are accountable for their actions. For the power of the sovereign Filipino people is a power that is higher than the Executive, the Legislative or even the Judiciary. And therefore, no matter how high and mighty one’s position may be, one can never, ever be beyond public accountability.

Today, we lay down before this impeachment tribunal the product of the collective voice of the people. Impeachment of Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona for betrayal of public trust, culpable violation of the Constitution, and for graft and corruption is the verdict in the House of Representatives. By issuing such verdict, we took the first step to accomplish our oath as the keepers of the people’s trust.

Let me be clear: We are not here to indict the Supreme Court as an institution, or to do battle with the judicial branch of government. We are here to search for the truth so as to restore the strength and independence of the judiciary. We are here because one man — Chief Justice Renato Corona — has bartered away for a pot of porridge the effectiveness, the independence, and the honor of the Supreme Court.

Mr. Senate President, your honors, one very important question before this honorable impeachment tribunal is, by what standards should Renato Corona be judged?

You only have to look at the Supreme Court itself to know the answer. As you climb its steps, you will see two statues. One of these statues is of Cayetano Arellano, the first Chief Justice, a man of absolute integrity, and of the deepest legal wisdom. The other is of Chief Justice Jose Abad Santos, who viewed his oath so sacred, and loved his country so deeply, he preferred to die at the hands of the Japanese rather than betray his country.

The Supreme Court itself, then, views the position of Chief Justice as beyond politics, beyond personal considerations, and always about putting honor and justice ahead of every other consideration. Pagkatao po ang ating pinag-uusapan dito. The Code of Judicial Conduct demands that a judge must be like Caesar’s wife — someone who must not only be pure but must be beyond suspicion at all times. Therefore, a Justice must be judged according to the highest standards. Against such standards, we then ask: Who is Chief Justice Corona? What kind of a man is he? Ano po ba ang pagkatao ni Renato Corona?

Chief Justice Renato Corona was a loyal servant to former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo from the time she became Vice-President in 1998 until she became President in 2001. Such loyalty had numerous rewards for the Chief Justice. Imagine, GMA paid for his back surgery. His wife was given plum positions in the John Hay Management Corporation. He was appointed Associate Justice, and the best reward of all, against all odds, he took a midnight oath as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

Corona’s appointment as Chief Justice also served an immoral purpose: that of shielding GMA from prosecution for her misdeeds during her presidency. The prosecution will show how Chief Justice Corona became the crowning glory of the cast of accomplices of former President Arroyo, and how he protected GMA’s interest in exchange for his position of prestige and power. This is at the heart of Article 1 of the Impeachment Complaint.

This unholy alliance between Chief Justice Corona and GMA, and Corona’s deep indebtedness to the former President culminated in the issuance of a temporary restraining order (TRO) to enable GMA and her husband to leave the country, and escape accountability. This is Article 7, Corona’s biggest favor yet to his benefactor. And in Article 4, we will show how the Chief Justice intervened in the impeachment case against former Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez also to protect GMA.

In Articles 3 and 5, we will show the lack of moral fitness of Chief Justice Renato Corona when he committed acts of impropriety involving parties with pending cases in the Supreme Court. His mockery of the disciplinary institutions of the Supreme Court in the plagiarism charge against a Supreme Court Associate Justice will be proven in Article 6. And in Article 8, we will show how he failed to account for the Judiciary Development Fund (JDF) and the Special Allowance for the Judiciary (SAJ), funds which are managed by the Chief Justice. Malinaw po: Kung gusto natin ng hustisya, hindi na dapat ipagkatiwala kay Chief Justice Corona ang pinakamataas na pwesto sa hudikatura.

And finally, we come to Article 2 where the prosecution will prove that Chief Justice Renato Corona amassed ill-gotten wealth after he was appointed to the Supreme Court in 2002. To give you an idea of this article, let me present to you some of the prized pieces of the Corona crown jewels:

Spanish Bay Tower, Bonifacio Ridge, acquired October 14, 2005, purchase price Php9,159,940;

McKinley Hill, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City, acquired October 21, 2008, purchase price Php6,196,575;

Bellagio I Tower, Taguig, acquired December 2009, purchase price of Php14,510,225;

The Columns, Ayala Avenue, Makati City, acquired in 2004;

One Burgundy Plaza – the building where Mrs. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo had a penthouse unit while she was Vice-President – acquired in 2003, purchase price Php2,758,000; and

Number 57 Maranao Street, La Vista, acquired in 2003, zonal valuation Php20.4 million, sold to his daughter for Php18 million.

The governing principle of our laws is clear: unexplained discrepancy between an official’s income and his assets, declared or undeclared, is prima facie evidence of ill-gotten wealth, and therefore, is an impeachable crime of graft and corruption.

The process of accountability is always a painful one. But the legislature is tasked by no less than the Constitution, the very expression of the people’s will, to undertake this sacred duty. And if at this instance, this is how we are called upon to be of service to our country, impeach we must. Mr. Senate President, your honors, we submit that Renato Corona, by his misdeeds, is unfit to remain Chief Justice.

In closing, the message of the House, as the representatives of the people, is the same as that given by Oliver Cromwell when he dismissed England’s Long Parliament on April 20 of 1653. Before God and country, we say: “It is high time for us to put an end to your sitting in that place, which you have dishonored by your contempt of all virtue, and defiled by your practice of every vice, you are an enemy to good government, as you have sold your country for a mess of pottage, and like Judas Escariot betrayed your God for a few pieces of gold. Depart I say, and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go!”

Thank you and good afternoon.  

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