For our sake, we better understand what is happening and act collectively to avert the worst outcome.
First, there was the filing last Friday of the impeachment complaint against President Duterte by Representative Gary Alejano of the Magdalo party list. The timing was perfect, with Congress having just adjourned, surprising the Duterte administration and its supporters.
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.
so, is it a moment of rare triumph for the forces of good vs evil, as in, maybe, EDSA uno? i’m sure the president and his supporters would like to believe so, that this is a win for “the people,” good job.
but as in the aftermath of EDSA, i doubt that it means a new beginning. i would love to be proven wrong, though, by this now very powerful president who, for all intents and purposes, it would seem, has shown that he has the legislature and soon will have the judiciary under his thumb, so to speak, and without having to declare martial law, because in the name of “the people.” and let’s not forget the media.
now we know: what this president wants, this president gets.
i don’t know that that is anything to celebrate until we see how else he will use the power.
but i will celebrate when this very powerful president gets the legislature to pass the RH and freedom of information bills into law. i will celebrate when this very powerful president gets the military to produce jonas burgos and general palparan. i will celebrate if, when, this very powerful president finally gets the economy truly moving, without leaving anyone behind, now that corona the alleged stumbling block is gone.
let’s not settle for less.
ellen tordesillas, who would like to see corona convicted, said last thursday that even before may 22, malacanang palace already had enough votes (16 of 23) to convict corona.
teddy locsin jr., who thinks corona should be acquitted…
Teddy Locsin Jr. @teddyboylocsin
@riaroxas I can’t even figure out what he is accused of that is impeachable.
… tweeted this today, at 11:26 a.m.
Teddy Locsin Jr. @teddyboylocsin
@mahalpilipinas @mled26 Noy said he has sewed up 18 votes. It is over.
so the summations by prosecution and defense on monday are a formality na lang, the senators judges have made up their minds. hmm. believable naman that the palace has been wooing, and possibly winning, as many senator judges’ votes as needed, if not more, given the last five months’ no-holds-barred campaign of the aquino admin to demonize corona, complete with mainstream and social media support.
however, i like to think there’s still a possibility of at least 7 senator judges voting to Acquit Him. just because, considering the law he cited, i don’t think that not declaring his dollar accounts and co-mingled peso funds in his SALN is an impeachable offense. i have also not forgotten that it was a weak impeachment complaint to begin with, and that(‘s why) it had to be railroaded, no due process. also, an acquittal would send an important message to the yellow media that allowed themselves to be used in the trial by publicity: it’s no way to build credibility and it’s no help
to in nation-building. finally, a conviction would give the executive control over the judiciary, sooner or later, as in gma times, and we know what a disaster that would be for our fragile democracy.
i know, i know, an acquittal would be bad news for the president; but look at the bright side — he’d have someone to blame for noynoying on stuff that requires a compliant judiciary. and he can try and have corona impeached again, but build a solid case naman (i’m still suspicious of those huge deposits on significant dates, for instance) and observe due process sana, for a change. ‘wag padalusdalos.
read atty jay c. de castro’s prognosis back in february: Senators Will Sustain Bill of Rights, May Acquit CJ Corona
Those who do not have the “cold neutrality of an impartial judge” and will 100% convict Corona, with or without evidence, are the LP Senators, 1) Frank Drilon, 2) TG Guingona, 3) Kiko Pangilinan and 4) Antonio Trillanes.
Those who’ll convict the CJ based on the evidence adduced, that is, his million-peso deposits in PSB and BPI, are, Senators, 5) Koko Pimentel, 6) Serge Osmena, 7) Ralph Recto, 8) Ed Angara and 9) Ping Lacson.
Those who’ll acquit the CJ, due to their own strict interpretation of the law, and strong adherence to the jurisprudence, laid in the case of Diokno vs. Stonehill, that evidence illegally seized or obtained are inadmissible, and therefore, cannot be used to convict Chief Justice Corona, are Senators, 1) Miriam Defensor-Santiago, 2) Joker Arroyo and 3) Juan Ponce Enrile.
Those who’ll adhere to said doctrine and champion the Bill of Rights, guaranteed in our Constitution are, Senators, 4) Chiz Escudero, 5) Jinggoy Estrada, the siblings, 6) Alan Peter and 7) Pia Cayetano, 8) Greg Honasan, 9) Loren Legarda, 10) Manny Villar and 11) Tito Sotto.
Those who’ll join this group and vote for acquittal, due to their affinity with former President GMA are, 12) Bong Revilla, 13) Lito Lapid and 14) Bongbong Marcos. Bongbong cannot reconcile with P-Noy, because of the latter’s rejection of the late dictator’s burial in the Libingan ng mga Bayani.
In fine, despite the evidence adduced against him, CJ Corona, MAY BE ACQUITTED, due to the Prosecution’s own making, i.e., their use or introduction of illegally obtained evidence against the former, which is repugnant to our Constitution, particularly the Bill of Rights, which command the acquittal of an accused, if the evidence presented against him, are manufactured or illegally obtained, and therefore inadmissible in our courts of law.
Indeed, of what use is the liberty against corruption, if those who campaign against it, resort to illegal and corrupt means to quell it? ” Atty. Jay C. De Castro, Founder, Magkaisa Para sa Bayan, February 10, 2012.
pero parang ang dami na masyadong nangyari since, and who knows how any of it, especially the corona testimonies and the walkout-walkback drama, may have altered certain mindsets.
whatever, acquit or convict, i’m looking forward to hearing the senators explain their votes, esp the ones with 2013 on their minds.