‘I Told You So’ #cj trial

30 May 2012

Teditorial: I Told You So

Can the chief justice be impeached for his interpretation of the law that his accusers completely agree with by not signing their own waivers?

By Teddy Locsin Jr.

I wrote this last night and for the past three weeks, I was predicting on Twitter 18, 19, even 20 will convict. For today was not the day of decision but the day the decision would be announced.

Like a bicameral conference for all the haste of this impeachment, it must have been discussed before it was filed. The decision of the Senate impeachment court making up a law as the trial went along and then convicting for it is the bill of attainder of which Enrile warned.

This was not impeachment as a political process, but a political assassination masquerading as a judicial procedure. An impeachment aspires to judicial procedure, ever mindful of judicial rules, above all respectful of due process that no citizen can be denied however high or low. That is why the senators wore the costumes of judges to look like judges. But this was not a trial but a long execution carried out by the legislature at executive behest.

The grounds for the chief justice’s impeachment were culpable violation of the constitution and betrayal of the public trust. Culpable means blameworthy that excludes unintentional wrong. (I was very good at Latin.) In this case, the act was not even wrong. The BIR says no taxpayer ever declared dollar deposits. Other grounds are treason, bribery, graft and corruption. The grounds differ. But all share a necessary quality. They must all be of equal gravity in being so obviously (note: obviously) wrong as to threaten the order of political society, making it pestilent and perilous for the perpetrator to stay in power.

Of what was the chief justice accused that made him pestilent and his tenure perilous? It is the chief justice’s accusers in the Palace, in the House, in the Senate and in the media who threaten democracy, the rule of law and the order of political society. The very allegations of culpable violation and betrayal of the public trust must already show what they did not in this case: a clear threat to the social order equal to treason.

Enrile made it clear. The chief justice was not charged with ill-gotten wealth, only of failing to declare all of his presumably honestly earned money.

Betrayal of the public trust does not mean “I don’t trust, honey,” like a politician’s wife says when she catches him in bed with someone else.

The constitution has a special definition. Betrayal of public trust is such gross irresponsibility, such brazen lack of integrity, such repeated disloyalty to duty, such heedless inefficiency and laziness in the public service, such glaring injustice and extravagant living as to pose a threat to the good order of society.

No real let alone legal proof showed of any of that. Such proof as the prosecution attempted did not approach the standard of clear and convincing evidence for conviction.

The chief justice was accused of culpable violation of the constitution. But in what regard? How culpable? What was the act or omission and how was it wrong? Can that be wrong which everyone does under a law and only one is accused of it? Signing the waiver acquited the chief justice and put all his accusers on trial.

The chief justice did not conceal his money. It is not concealment when law itself shields the money. The senators lambasted him for that but went along with the TRO. Their secrets had to be shielded but his could not be. They could convict him for hiding what they can keep hiding after all.

Then the chief justice did the unforgivable. He waived the secrecy of his dollar deposits. Now the senators are expected to declare their deposits also. Corona was dead. He was expected to lie down and die alone, not take the senators with him.

In the end, did the chief justice misdeclare all that he owned as public officers are required to report? But the remedy for misdeclaration is self-correction not impeachment as we shall see when a friend of the president is finally caught. Indeed, impeachment is always too grave a remedy. A reckless impeachment undermines the independence of the judiciary as it can weaken the energy of the president.

What the senate did today will decide whether ours shall thenceforth be a government of laws and of separated powers or a government of whimsy and one-gang rule; whether ours shall be a government of limited powers or of powers as far as a president’s ambition will go. Judicial decisions will change with time; political actions will harden with expedient repetion. And this is a government of expediency galore.

It all came down to the question: can the chief justice be impeached for his interpretation of the law that his accusers completely agree with by not signing their own waivers? That is hypocrisy and a violation of the equal protection of the law.

I therefore submit the answer is no. Yet the senate said yes. I told you so. Good night.

39 Responses to ‘I Told You So’ #cj trial

  1. May 30, 2012 at 2:32 pm
    • May 30, 2012 at 3:14 pm
      manuelbuencamino

      Do I take it that you share Locsin’s opinion?

      • May 31, 2012 at 5:25 am
        baycas

        Angela loved it:

        @teddyboylocsin loved your Teditorial ‘I Told You So’. posted it on my blog, 4 the record. last of my #cj trial series stuartsantiago.com/i-told-you-so-… about 14 hours ago » retweet

  2. May 30, 2012 at 3:12 pm
    GabbyD

    so seriously: do you believe this? or do you just like his writing style?

    do you believe:
    1)” Can that be wrong which everyone does under a law and only one is accused of it? ” so NO ONE declares dollars? seriously?

    2)”The chief justice did not conceal his money. It is not concealment when law itself shields the money.” all our bank accounts in whatever currency is confidential. does that mean we declare zero?

    seriously? i cant believe locsin wrote that, let alone believing it.

    • May 30, 2012 at 4:45 pm
      BrianB

      He is especially gifted at redefining terms and the terms of his position as he goes along.

      His type of rhetoric should be banned in an innocent country like ours.

  3. May 30, 2012 at 3:16 pm
    manuelbuencamino

    “The BIR says no taxpayer ever declared dollar deposits.”

    No the BIR did not say that. It was a retired BIR employee who said it. Curiously timed too, I might add.

  4. May 30, 2012 at 4:12 pm
    baycas

    haha, angela, if you subscribe to teddyboy, haha!

    he’s no longer in Congress. he’s a miron at best just like Fr. Bernas.

    the SC (in Francisco vs. HOR and Gutierrez vs. HOR) best left the judgment of what an impeachable offense constitutes to the Legislature:

    the HOR alleges, the Senate decides.

    …and the Senate had decided.

  5. May 30, 2012 at 4:19 pm
    Bert

    “This was not impeachment as a political process, but a political assassination masquerading as a judicial procedure.”—Teddy Boy Locsin

    Ows? Because Corona was declared guilty by the impeachment court?
    If Corona were to be acquitted by the same court, will you be saying the same thing?

    No!. You will be jumping with joy, praising the same impeachment court, ‘di ba Teddy Boy?

  6. May 30, 2012 at 4:57 pm
    BrianB

    When he says this “What the senate did today will decide whether ours shall thenceforth be a government of laws and of separated powers or a government of whimsy and one-gang rule; whether ours shall be a government of limited powers or of powers as far as a president’s ambition will go” suddenly feel that being ingenuous is the biggest crime against the intellect.

    These things happen daily and to every sort of people in this country “gang rule”. But he especially mentions “one gang rule”like a avid feudal man that he is (being a haciendero he wants a many-gang rule).

    His main point being that if you just skirt the boundaries of the law like every smart, rich person should, you have a right to go scot-free.

    What the impeachment showed is that wrong is wrong. For great public officials like Corona, a small amount of personal negligence that benefits him entirely (mis-declaration of assets) puts all doubt on him. The failure to declare the dollar assets is not simple oversight. A simple corrective is not suffice. Simple corrective if he miscalculated in his arithmetic, but not in a total omission.

    Just wikipedia what culpable means. No need to trust an old choir bog who’s probably expert in giving orals to priests. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Culpability

    Particularlly: A person acts purposely with respect to a material element of an offence when:

    1. if the element involves the nature of his conduct or a result thereof, it is his conscious object to engage in conduct of that nature or to cause such a result; and
    2. if the element involves the attendant circumstances, he is aware of the existence of such circumstances or he believes or hopes that they exist.

    The man is a bully. He believes his blood (chinese area squatters on cane land) is better than others. What a small-dick joker.

  7. May 30, 2012 at 5:00 pm
    BrianB

    To be specific:

    “or he believes or hopes that they exist.”

    Being culpable points to moral beliefs. THINK ABOUT IT.

  8. May 30, 2012 at 5:33 pm
    baycas

    on radio, reporters speak of:

    “kung natanggal nila ang chief justice dahil sa SALN na ‘yan, dapat sa lahat gawin ‘yan!” something to that effect.

    historically, ginagawa na sa lahat ‘yan at may mga natanggal na sa puesto. kaya lang maliliit na tao.

    si Pleyto, na cabinet secretary, suspension lang ang naipataw na parusa. siya na yata ang pinakamataas na taga-gobiyerno.

    ngayon may nasampulan uli, this time, 6-footer na matabang isda…

    “big fish,” hmmm…magandang pangitain ito…

  9. May 30, 2012 at 6:31 pm

    However you look at it, TB argues Tu Quoque. RCC got caught, but he should be acquitted because allegedly everyone else does it. As a rule, Tu Quoque cannot fly because it is a recipe for taking the law into one’s unclean hands.

    But TB claims to argue Equal Protection, supposedly because laws should apply equally to all. In fact, the Senate followed Equal Protection because it meted out dismissal on that clear precedent of a court clerk who failed to declare a sari-sari store. Ms. Flores, dismissed for her SALN misfeasance, has become a celebrity poster girl for justice for the little guy.

    What TB really wants is an even broader net to be cast, which is fair. But neither mandamus nor injunction can control how the Executive enforces the laws (because the matter is a political question). That’s life, Ted, even if it seems unfair. As Bongbong has said on tv, ‘ang pikon, talo.’

    TB’s and RCC’s remedy, if any, is to claim ‘grave abuse’; not so easy after JPE put a proper ziplock (I think that was Ted Te’s word) on the process and due deliberation by the Senate. The sole question on certiorari is limited to whether the Senate was ‘whimsical.’

    The SC cannot find reversible error because the Constitution does not carve in an appellate jurisdiction for the SC in an impeachment case. (Theoretically, Congress can add or expand the SC jurisdiction, but can do so only through legislation; not through a ‘mistake’ by the Senate.)

    But as always. Let’s take our grain of substitute salt. TB is seldom wrong, always right.

  10. May 30, 2012 at 8:05 pm
    baycas

    PAKUWENTO NAMAN DIYAN

    Alam na ho ng mga magagaling at mga matatalino sa Kongreso at sa BIR na ang mga tumatakas (evading) sa buwis ay:

    Una, itinatago ang “acquisition cost”, at…

    Ikalawa, inilalagak ang salapi sa perang dolyar o sa iba pa liban sa piso.

    Bakit, ‘ika n’yo? Ha, Aling Estrella?

    Ganito ho kasi ‘yon…

    Noon, o marahil sa tuwing, panahon ng “tax amnesty”, ito ang ipinagagawa ng batas:

    SEC. 3. What to Declare in the SALN. — The SALN shall contain a declaration of the assets, liabilities and networth as of December 31, 2005, as follows:

    1. Assets within or without the Philippines, whether real or personal, tangible or intangible, whether or not used in trade or business: Provided, That property other than money shall be valued at the cost at which the property was acquired: Provided, further, That foreign currency assets and/or securities shall be valued at the rate of exchange prevailing as of the date of the SALN;

    2. All existing liabilities which are legitimate and enforceable, secured or unsecured, whether or not incurred in trade or business; and

    3. The networth of the taxpayer, which shall be the difference between the total assets and total liabilities.

    – R.A. 9480

    At ito naman ang reglamento nito para maipatupad ang batas:

    SEC. 8. Contents of the SALN. – The SALN shall contain a true and complete declaration of assets, liabilities and networth of the taxpayer as of December 31, 2005, as follows:

    1. Assets within or without the Philippines, whether real or personal, tangible or intangible, whether or not used in trade or business:

    a. Real properties shall be accompanied by a description of their classification, exact location, and valued at acquisition cost, if acquired by purchase or the zonal valuation or fair market value, whichever is higher, if acquired through inheritance or donation;

    b. Personal properties other than money, shall be accompanied by a specific description of the kind and number of assets (i.e. automobiles, shares of stock, etc.) or other investments, indicating the acquisition cost less depreciation or amortization, in proper cases, if acquired by purchase, or the fair market price or value at the time of receipt, if acquired through inheritance or donations;

    c. Assets denominated in foreign currency shall be converted into the corresponding Philippine currency equivalent, at the rate of exchange prevailing as of December 31, 2005; and

    d. Cash on hand and in bank in peso as of December 31, 2005, as well as Cash on Hand and in Bank in foreign currency, converted to peso as of December 31, 2005.

    2. All existing liabilities which are legitimate and enforceable, secured and unsecured, whether or not incurred in trade or business, disclosing or indicating clearly the name and address of the creditor and the amount of the corresponding liability.

    3. The total networth of the taxpayer, which shall be difference between the total assets and total liabilities.

    – Department Order No. 29-07, August 15, 2007, RULES AND REGULATIONS TO IMPLEMENT REPUBLIC ACT NO. 9480

    Hmm, ano kan’yo, Aling Estrella?

    Ah, oo, ang sabi n’yo hindi naman kasi nangyayari sa tunay na buhay ‘yan. ‘Pag may “tax amnesty” lang ipinatutupad ‘yan…

    Aah, siyanga ano…Tama po kayo, Aling Estrella. Ganyang-ganyan nga pala ang ginawa ni Mang Renato.

    Itinago NIYA ang “acquisition cost” at itinago NIYA ang yaman sa dolyar…at may euro pa yata, hane?

    Ha, ano pa ho ang sabi n’yo?

    Bilang CPA-lawyer po kayo alam n’yong wala namang batas na nalalabag ang istilo ni Mang Renato.

    Aah, ang tawag pala kan’yo diyan ay “TAX AVOIDANCE“?

    Hmm, kaya pala ipinagpipilitan ni Mang Renato na wala siyang kasalanan at ipagsisiksikan niya ang sarili bilang Punong Mahistrado.

    Kung sabagay, alam na alam rin naman ng mga mambubutas, este, mambabatas natin ang ganiyang kalakaran.

    Naghihintay lang naman pala si Mang Renato ng susunod na “tax amnesty” bago niya ideklara ang kaniyang mga ari-arian.

    O sige, Aling Estrella, napagpaliwanagan n’yo na ho ako…ng makaluma at baluktot ninyong daan sa BIR noon.

    Sige po ha, parating na si Ate Kim…mukhang wala raw yatang “tax amnesty” hanggang 2016. Siya naman ang kakausapin ko tungkol sa pagtutuwid nila ng dati n’yong daan.

    Siyanga pala, Aling Estrella, kapag ‘di pala na-”convict” si Mang Renato…kung sakali lang naman

    Baka may “tax amnesty” na sa 2017 o 2018. Balita ko ho matunog at matatag ang Binarroyo…

    Salamat ho sa kuwento…

    baycas, 5.19.2012

  11. May 30, 2012 at 8:34 pm
    baycas

    The BIR says no taxpayer ever declared dollar deposits.

    It’s not the BIR. Corona referred to a former BIR employee, a CPA named Estrella Martinez.

    How will she note amounts in foreign currency in SALNs when the amounts were converted into peso?

    (Please see RA 9480 above. In Tita Cory’s time in 1986, there was also tax amnesty and same instructions were given by her decree.)

    Besides, I believe Estrella Martinez was referring to SALNs filed by private individuals for taxation purposes.

    • May 30, 2012 at 8:42 pm
      baycas

      CPA-lawyer…

  12. May 30, 2012 at 10:56 pm

    The Corona impeachment is over. But abject poverty is still
    a sad reality to millions of our countrymen. Let’s all help our fellow countrymen NOW.

    • May 31, 2012 at 5:20 am
      baycas

      Why? Weren’t you helping before?

    • May 31, 2012 at 10:36 am

      Corona has accepted his fate and every one is glad its over, so lets move on and be vigilant to make this Pnoy administration follow through their avowed promise to eradicate, mitigate and prevent the evils of poverty, corruption and indifference to the vital needs of fellowmen.

  13. May 31, 2012 at 9:14 am

    We have to go back to the origin: why the impeachment? Was it because somebody discovered Corona has some wealth of dubious origins? No. It is because the President perceives the CJ as blocking the effort to punish GMA for her sins. See the yawning, other-dimensional disconnect? But how could you get that bastard out of the way? Certainly not by the true motivation. You need not be a lawyer to know what quantum evidence you need to prove that Corona all by his lonesome is frustrating his effort, especially as the SC is a collegial body. You need something else. Isang butas. Kahit isa man lang butas. So they had to go fishing. With the help of the entire machinery of the government. Eventually their fishing netted something: his dollar deposits. Yahoo! But because of the FCDA, they could not bring it out in the open, they had to devise an elaborate scheme to expose it without violating the law. To their credit and genius, the government succeeded. So there. Did he declare it in his SALN? No. Can he be convicted with that ? Yes. Is that fair? That’s not the point, sorry.

  14. May 31, 2012 at 9:39 am

    We need to keep within legitimate parameters though. The facade must be kept right. And that’s the problem.

    Non-declaration of an asset do not seem to pass for even a petty crime. But the punishment now commands Corona to vacate his office pronto, forfeits all his benefits, and effectively denies him anymore future opportunity to serve in government, a punishment so severe it makes one recoil, as if some heinous crime against humanity was done by him. Like some jaywalker fined P1M and meted reclusion perpetua

    • May 31, 2012 at 11:36 am
      baycas

      Blame the New Code of Judicial Conduct for the Philippine Judiciary…which, btw, the former CJ was on leave during its ratification in 2004 (remembering Cuevas’ reason of absence when “culpa” was taken in class).

      • May 31, 2012 at 1:05 pm

        The result being, the Corona Standard.

        If acts lesser than petty crime would merit this harshness, now what?

        We will see when the Law of Unintended Consequences starts creeping in. I am reminded of the word “backfire”.

        • June 1, 2012 at 6:04 am
          baycas

          @ricelander,

          What actually happened was a Flores Standard. A Montemayor standard. A Doblada Standard. A Racho Standard. A Peliño Standard.

          Small fries that got fried.

          I am pretty certain these standards, including yours, will not backfire on HONEST public officers.

          • June 1, 2012 at 10:55 am

            Backfire on honest public officials, no.

            On those with dollars similarly not declared in their SALNs, yes.

          • June 1, 2012 at 3:36 pm
            baycas

            Ang babaw…dollars lang pala iniisip mo…

            Pati peso kaya itinago ni Renato.

            —–

            Like I said…

            Don’t spread the blame
            to avoid penalty

            Spread the penalty
            to all blameworthy

    • May 31, 2012 at 12:46 pm

      but isn’t there an element of rough justice in all this? true, it may be a petty crime, but it rises to something else if you were the head of judiciary charged with being the compliance officer for that branch of government.

      but i think the bigger picture is this. judicial review allows the SC to check grave abuse by the other two departments. the only check on grave abuse by the SC is impeachment, and we can’t do that wholesale.

      perhaps it is unfair; and yet at the same time just.

      • May 31, 2012 at 1:02 pm
        baycas

        perhaps it is unfair; and yet at the same time just.

        >

        I concur.

      • May 31, 2012 at 1:22 pm

        All is fair in war and politics. That is all that can be said about it.

  15. May 31, 2012 at 3:15 pm
    • May 31, 2012 at 3:59 pm

      Thank you, Ms Angela.

      • May 31, 2012 at 6:20 pm

        @ricelander: there is no middle ground? no torture in purgatory?

    • May 31, 2012 at 7:57 pm
      Bert

      ricelander, with all those lies we’ve seen in the impeachment trial perpetuated by Corona, you still have your doubt as to whether the man has a clear conscience re his conviction by the impeachment court?

      • June 1, 2012 at 1:39 pm

        Bert, I can’t read other people’s conscience.

        • June 1, 2012 at 2:16 pm
          Bert

          Fair enough.

          I just hope you can read other people’s lies. For examples, Corona’s claim he’s ignorant of what asset and liabilities mean, that he has no dollar account in the banks, that his P80 million pesos in the bank not his but co-mingled, that he has nothing to do with his wife’s manipulation of the BGEI funds, that he’s not there to protect his benefactor Gloria, that he’s innocent of the charges where he’s found guilty of in the impeachment trial, na wala siyang katulong sa bahay, na hindi siya gumagamit ng airconditioner sa bahay, that he does not invest in real estate, etc., etc.

  16. May 31, 2012 at 7:38 pm
    BrianB

    Embed Miriam’s reasoning on her vote here; it’s very good. I am convinced she’s right.

    Amazing, if you can get over the accent.

    But…

  17. June 1, 2012 at 3:19 pm
    john c. jacinto

    laos na kasi si teddy boy locsin, kaya nagpapapansin nang todo. huwag niyo nang intindihin ang mamang yan, baka sumikat pa uli.

    • June 2, 2012 at 1:56 am

      @john :( its not only TBs brainhead is loosing a brightness in relevance even his hair is getting shaggy, i.e., sha gilid nalang tumubo ang buhok hhhh

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