Impeachment Trial Impressions: Defense Wins Round 1 But Renato Corona is Badly Bruised

Round 1 Goes to the Defense, but CJ Corona is Badly Bruised

 

Fourteen days have passed and the prosecution team is about to wrap up the presentation for Article 2. Thus far, these are my impressions of the first 14 days of the impeachment proceedings:

  1.  I thought that Chief Justice Renato Corona would do a Merci; i.e. resign from his post and  spare himself from the embarrassment of whatever things the prosecution will throw at him during the trial. Renato Corona however has chosen to fight. In an interview  aired over TV Patrol last January 16, 2011, he declared that he will not resign as Chief Justice and only death can remove him from the Supreme Court. Such a bold statement can be interpreted either way: He is either “kapit tuko” or he is convinced he will be acquitted. Whatever it is, his statement over television suggests a long drawn trial.

 

  1. Except for one member of the court who never fails to perform headline grabbing antics when  attending the proceedings, I thought there is a conscious effort on the majority of the senator jurors  not to let the process be hampered by technicalities attendant to judicial proceedings.  I hope this will continue well into the rest of the impeachment trials.  The worst thing that can happen is for technicalities to prevent the truth to come out.  I believe that a decision that is reflective of the truth will surely get the support of the people. But a decision that bars the exposition of the truth using legal technicalities will be rejected by the people and my even result to some form of direct action. (Remember the second envelop and Edsa 2?)

 

The Impeachment Trial on the front page of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, January 16, 2012
  1. This is a trial to show that Renato Corona is not fit to become Chief Justice.  Specifically it is not about the commission of high crimes” but about “betrayal of the public trust” and “culpable violation of the Constitution.”   For the first fourteen days, the trial was progressing  like a criminal proceeding. This could be a mistake by the prosecution resulting in the arguments being focused on evidence akin to a criminal proceeding, not about fitness in office of the Chief Justice.  Result: the Defense is having a field day in Court.

 

  1. The impeachment trial is a showcase of the best lawyers this country has.  I wonder how expensive these lawyers are.  And if indeed they are offering their services for free, are there strings attached to these free services?

 

  1. The defense team may have won this round on technicalities but their client has been badly cruised and his reputation badly tarnished.   No matter how brilliant and experienced the defense counsels are, the prosecution team was able to paint a Chief Justice who has not been that honest with his SALNs, who has bought penthouses at a great discount and who has tried to avoid paying the correct taxes on his real estate transactions and other incomes.

 

Enhanced by Zemanta
Bookmark and Share

A Walking Constitutional Violation

I reproduce below Secretary of Justice Leila M. de Lima’s reaction to Renato Corona’s statement that President Aquino is a dictator. When Corona lambasted the President in his address to the judges and the court employees, he created an “open season” for himself to be  hit by everybody.

Statement of Secretary of Justice Leila M. de Lima:
Corona: A walking constitutional violation

[Released on December 15, 2011]

Yesterday, Corona called the President a dictator. He says that holding the Chief Justice accountable to the people through impeachment shows that the President is a dictator.

Every human being is accountable for his actions. The Constitution sets higher standards of accountability for public officials, more for judges, the highest reserved for Justices of the Supreme Court. In the case of the Chief Justice, accountability comes in only one form, by impeachment. As Chief Justice, there is no other manner by which Corona can be held accountable. But Corona says that for the President to hold him accountable in accordance with the Constitution is dictatorial, as Aquino wants control of the Supreme Court. According to Corona, his impeachment is an assault on the judiciary, the Supreme Court, the Constitution, and democracy itself. According to Corona, he cannot be held accountable without attacking the Constitution and democracy. This, according to Corona, is his very own apotheosis, for only human beings can be held accountable.

But the Filipino people know better. Judicial independence does not mean independence and exemption from justice and accountability. The highest form of accountability is demanded from no less than the highest magistrate of the land, whose title under our Constitution is deliberately termed Chief Justice, not Lord Justice, lest the title is misrepresented by its holder. This is what the President is demanding from Corona, not subservience, which Corona has already pledged to Arroyo, and certainly not capitulation. All that the President demands, what the people demand, is that Corona be held accountable. Corona, contrary to his protestations, is not exempt from the most basic human precept of accountability.

Yesterday, Corona claimed the whole judiciary for his personal retinue, ordering judges and court personnel to stop working for a day. Through the Court Administrator, he ordered that the judges and courts should not hold hearing for a day, and that everyone who went to the courts for justice yesterday should go home, because justice, that day, took a leave of absence. Yesterday, justice stopped because the Chief Justice wanted to say something to the judiciary he deemed more important than justice itself. So important were his words that the wheels of justice had to stop turning for a day.

Yesterday, the Chief Justice called the President a dictator. The title could very well apply to him. There can be no more apt description of a tyrant than someone who holds himself above justice and accountability. Clearly, the framers of the Constitution were thinking of Renato C. Corona when they did not put the Chief Justice in the line of succession to the Presidency.

The Supreme Court and the judiciary do not belong to Corona. Corona is not the judiciary. Corona may belong to Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Some members of the Supreme Court may belong to Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. But the Supreme Court, the institution, the Supreme Court of the people, can never belong to Corona or to Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. The Supreme Court belongs to the people. And when the Arroyo justices start thinking that in protecting Arroyo, they are shorn of any accountability, not even by impeachment, then it is time the people, through their representatives in Congress, impeach them. It is time the President and Congress reclaim the Court for the people.

Yesterday, Corona said that President Aquino wants him impeached because he wants to appoint a Chief Justice he could hold by the neck. Corona said that the President’s quarrel with his midnight appointment is that the President was denied the opportunity to appoint a Chief Justice he could hold by the neck. What he did not say is that by being appointed Chief Justice by Arroyo despite the constitutional prohibition on midnight appointments, it was his own neck that was held by Arroyo. More than President Aquino appointing a Chief Justice he holds by the neck, which he never got to do, it is Arroyo who appointed the Chief Justice, Corona, so that she can hold him by the neck long after her term was over.

For this is the very essence of a midnight appointment, to hold the midnight appointee by the neck, the outgoing President making a tail-end appointment to assure her power in government long after her term is over, consequently depriving the President-elect his rightful appointing authority. The Constitution states that two months before a presidential election and up to the end of her term, then President Arroyo cannot make any kind of appointment. After depriving the eventual President of his constitutional authority to appoint the next Chief Justice, Corona claims that better a Chief Justice held by the neck by Arroyo, than a Chief Justice held by the neck by the rightful and constitutional appointing authority, the incoming President Aquino. At least he was clear about who was holding who by the neck.

With his impeachment by Congress, the Chief Justice now, like his patron Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, is nothing more than an accused. As Arroyo was the beneficiary of “Hello Garci,” Corona was the beneficiary of a constitutional violation. From the moment of his appointment, Chief Justice Corona was a walking constitutional violation. His appointment was the “Hello Garci” of the judicial department.

A midnight appointee held by the neck by Gloria-Macapagal Arroyo, Corona should be as he was rightly impeached for the simple reason that, like Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, he is nothing more than a usurper to a public office. Corona, in his own twisted view of reality, may call the President a dictator, but he can never question Aquino’s mandate as the duly elected President of the people. Unlike the President, all that Corona can show for himself is his illegal and unconstitutional appointment as a usurper to the Office of the Chief Justice by the other usurper Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. And as history shows, usurpers make the worst tyrants, because of their false sense of entitlement to something that was never theirs from the start.

doj.gov.ph

Bookmark and Share
Affordable Seo PackagesSeo BlogEdu Backlinks
%d bloggers like this: