senators steal the show #cj trial

i heard it first last night, from one of lynda jumilla‘s guests, either dean raul pangalangan or dean tony la vina, on anc‘s daily post-mortem: the fear or apprehension that the public might be losing interest in the impeachment case, given all the arguments over technicalities that the prosecution keeps stumbling into.  patriciomangubat too thinks it’s a problem.  read Anti-Corona losing steam:

The problem really is, the public’s waning interest about the case. The trial has been, what, on its fourth week, and since the prosecution has failed to present their most explosive witness yet, this is beginning to turn into a dragging courtroom drama which is interesting only to those who love reading John Grisham or watching mock courts.

i beg to disagree.  i think the only people who want the trial to end ASAP are the ones feeling threatened by so much information getting out about how rich people deal with the BIR and SEC, and how they manage not to declare the real value of their real estate properties, that is, the ways of the rich with their millions, in and out of government, kumbaga.

i think people are watching, listening, every chance they get, not necessarily to all of the trial itself but there are too the endless commentaries and speculation on radio and tv and in the papers and the internet.  one way or another people are keeping tabs on this double-program telenovela unfolding live! on two fronts : in the courtoom and in the public mind.

in the public mind, thanks to pro-palace media, guilty na si corona.  but in the courtroom, the prosecution is fumbling, floundering, failing to build their case (they were more prepared for a corona resignation, methinks, than to prosecute him in a real trial).  and the people are enjoying the show.  suddenly it could go any which way.  where no one would have bet on an acquittal ten days ago, today, a conviction is not in the bag at all, and people want to see every twist and turn of the story, no matter how long it takes for due process to take its course.

tama si dean la vina: the prosecution’s problem is not how to win the public — they have already been won — but how to win the senators.  presiding officer senate president enrile and most of the senator-judges have been doing such a good job, behaving in a way that has won the public’s approval, to such an extent that the public, it would seem, would accept whatever verdict the senate hands down.  which is good.

in fact, if there’s anything we should all be praying and pleading for, it is that the senators truly take the high ground and stand tall to the end against any importunings by the palace to sway their final decision.  for a change.

here’s to interesting times.


  1. Leon Guerrero was dumbfounded and exasperated in the proceedings yesterday (Please watch the video or read articles on it somewhere out there.). It was on account of Cong. Umali’s “brilliance” as a lawyer.

    Perhaps, we may help the honorable Senator-Judge…

    In the title of Art. 2 of the AOI, and Paragraphs 2.1, 2.2, and 2.3, the QUESTION is:“Did Corona publicly disclose his SALN?

    ”Obviously, “NO, he didn’t.

    It’s just now that we came to know Corona’s SALN. Leon Guerrero had read it also this January 2012.


    To Tupas, Umali, Barzaga, and others:

    Better call Vitug (and those who requested for the CJ’s SALN) to the witness stand and ask her (them) if she (they) was (were) given a copy of the CJ’s SALN she (they) requested.

    This will connect the dots and Leon Guerrero will most likely understand that you have proven your allegations in Art. 2 of the AOI when Vitug et al will answer in the NEGATIVE.

    • Likewise, the term of betrayals of public trust has a guiding, if not perfectly complete definition. It connotes acts which, even if not punishable, render the officer unfit to continue in office.

      Googling the highlighted quote above pointed to this very timely post at rappler:

      The prosecution’s mistake
      Posted on 02/03/2012 9:47 AM  | Updated 02/03/2012 10:47 AM

      The prosecution’s mistake

      In my view (knowing of course I am not a senator-judge), the mere fact of failing to file a true, genuine and accurate SALN by a chief justice is a serious matter. Such omission can be considered rendering him:

      – unfit to continue in office (since he is called to uphold the law and not violate it)

      – prejudicial to public interest (not giving a good example to other officers of the court of lower rank than him who he is supposed to lead)

      – tending to bring his office into disrepute (since the judiciary wields influence through moral ascendancy and if the chief justice himself is found to have violated the laws and the Constitution, there will be a loss of public trust in the institution tasked with dispensing justice)
      Just the same, it would, of course, be a better case for the prosecution if malice or intent on the part of the chief justice be proven in not filing a true, genuine and accurate SALN since this even makes it easier to prove that he committed culpable violation of the constitutional provision that says “public office is a public trust” and/or betrayed the public trust as already mentioned above.

    • Okay, ah…

      May kulang lang ang may-akda ukol sa tribong “K”…”kakulay“.


      Attack on judges…Historically, they fail.

      In the U.S., attacks on judges failed.

      Sa simula, naiimpeach pero pag nasa Senado na, ang popular sentiment ay nababago in favor of the one impeached. During the trial kasi naiintindihan na ng mga tao na hindi pala impeachable ang huwes at madaling tanggapin ang acquittal. (Puede ring maihambing ito sa kaso ni Clinton).

      Sa atin na halos kapareho ng American Constitution, an attack on a judge also failed. Naging unconstitutional ang pagkaka-impeach kay Davide dahil may mga constitutionally-imposed limitation sa pag-impeach na nalabag ang HOR. Ayaw din ng tao noong 2003 na malitis si Davide dahil popular pa siya mula nang mapatalsik si Erap.

      History will tell us that Corona may also be acquitted…eventually…lalo na naman sa “galing” ng mga prosecutors!

      In South Korea (although with a different setup because impeachment cases must be tried by the Constitutional Court), an attack, this time, on a president also proved futile. The popular President Roh Moo-hyun was impeached. Amidst public protest, the Korean Constitutional Court overturned Roh’s impeachment and he was restored as president.

      Sa mga ehemplong nabanggit, napakahalaga ng public sentiment. Nararapat bang tanggalin sa puwesto ang na-impeach?

      Gaya nga nang nasabi na dati ni G. Frank Chavez, labanan din ito ng propaganda.

      May tulog si G. Renato Corona Kung magpapatuloy ang kaniyang UNPOPULARITY…

  2. at the way and rate things are going on at the Senate trial, perhaps the Corona camp may just sit and wait for the PROSECUTORS to make their cause unpopular.

    at this point (3 weeks na ba?), it appears Art. 2 as alleged, may not be considered impeachable in the strict sense of what an impeachable offense means. could there be enlightenment among the people?

    kung meron…coup de grace na lang when it will be the defense’s turn to offer evidence. more enlightenment will add unpopularity to the PROSECUTORS.

    btw, highly recommended ang video ni sen. lito lapid on the floor vs. cong. umali.

    another thing, may “love angle distraction” ba sa mala-American President triste of Pnoy & Grace? magandang segúe yan sa mga kapalpakan nila Tupas et al. kung totoo, malamang script uli ni Butch…

  3. Impeachable offenses

    A. The mere intention to do wrong would not be cause of impeachment; rather, there may be numerous causes for removal which do not amount to a crime.

    Fisher Ames of Massachusetts argued for the President’s removal power because “mere intention [to do a mischief] would not be cause for impeachment” and “there may be numerous causes for removal that do not amount to a crime.” Later in the same speech Ames suggested that impeachment was available if an officer “misbehaves” and for “mal-conduct.”

    Thus, Corona may already be convicted by his misbehavior and improper conduct…

    …the mere fact of failing to file a true, genuine and accurate SALN by a chief justice is a serious matter. Such omission can be considered rendering him:

    – unfit to continue in office (since he is called to uphold the law and not violate it)

    – prejudicial to public interest (not giving a good example to other officers of the court of lower rank than him who he is supposed to lead)

    – tending to bring his office into disrepute (since the judiciary wields influence through moral ascendancy and if the chief justice himself is found to have violated the laws and the Constitution, there will be a loss of public trust in the institution tasked with dispensing justice)


    But in the case of Corona, under the cloak of the Supreme Court Resolution of not publicly disclosing Justices’ SALNs, there was NO inadvertence. He has full knowledge that he is protected by such “unconstitional,” “capricious” guideline.

    The Corona camp’s logic of Corona being innocent of what was alleged in Article 2 of the AOI because he evidently filed his SALNs is misplaced. He filed his SALNs just for the sake of filing them and not actually for public disclosure. Besides, it was already common practice that the statements are not reviewed by the CJ’s in the past as a result of the secrecy.

    The PATTERN of not submitting a truthful, complete, and timely SALNs (and the inexcusable NEGLECT to follow the New Code of Judicial Conduct for the Philippine Judiciary in the process) provide(s) malice or intent on the part of Corona. This amounts to CULPABLE VIOLATION OF THE CONSTITUTION.

    B. Failure to discharge well and faithfully the powers and duties of one’s office is betrayal of public trust. The term “betrayal of public trust” connotes acts done by a public officer which, even if not punishable, render him unfit to continue in office.



    Just for the record, what would the Committee envision as a betrayal of public trust which is not otherwise covered by by other terms antecedent thereto?

    MR. ROMULO. I think, if I may speak for the Committee and subject to further comments of Commissioner de los Reyes, the concept is that this is a catchall phrase. Really, it refers to his oath of office, in the end that the idea of public trust is connected with the oath of office of the officer, and if he violates that oath of office, then he has betrayed the trust.


    MR. DE LOS REYES. The reason I proposed this amendment is that during the Regular Batasang Pambansa where there was a move to impeach then President Marcos, there were arguments to the effect that there is no ground for impeachment because there is no proof that President Marcos committed criminal acts which are punishable, or considered penal offenses. And so the term “betrayal of public trust,” as explained by Commissioner Romulo, is a catchall phrase to include all acts which are not punishable by statutes as penal offenses but, nonetheless, render the officer unfit to continue in office. It includes betrayal of public interest, inexcusable negligence of duty, tyrannical abuse of power, breach of official duty by malfeasance or misfeasance, cronyism, favoritism, etc. to the prejudice of public interest and which tend to bring the office into disrepute. That is the purpose, Madam President.


    Perjury may not seem as a high crime sadly admitted by Barzaga, but the fact of the “inaccuracies” in the SALNs was already acknowledged by the Corona camp. Here, we must reconsider the evident PATTERN and the inexcusable NEGLECT that happened through the years. A repeated infraction of an obligation occurred and this is unpardonable by just a slap on the wrist.

    Corona’s failure to fulfill his oath of office could be tantamount to treason. As such, there was also a BETRAYAL OF PUBLIC TRUST.


    Sigma Rhoans versus Utopians
    July 16, 2010

    …The battle for the chief justice position…The high court skirmish was, on the contrary, merely a part of a larger struggle for dominance whose seeds were sown—get this—in the law schools of the University of the Philippines and Ateneo de Manila.

    Until recently, the premiere fraternity which swayed the legal profession was UP’s Sigma Rho.


    However about a decade ago, the grip of Sigma Rho started to slip with the entry of Utopian brothers in key government positions, especially with the coming to power of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.


    In 1989, a Utopian, Eugene Tan, dared to go up against the Sigma Rhoan candidate for the IBP presidency; Tan won the electoral contest but at the cost of incurring the enmity of Sigma Rhoan leaders Angara and Drilon.

    After a Sigma Rhoan-inspired case, Tan was disbarred and lost the IBP presidency. The chief justice at that time was Marcelo Fernan, another Sigma Rhoan.

    With the Utopian out, IBP again became a Sigma Rho playground.

    But in the very vortex of power, it was Utopia that held sway, especially after Edsa II swept Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo into Malacañang.

    Arroyo was surrounded in the Palace by Utopians: Renato Corona as chief of staff, presidential son Mikey Arroyo, First Gentleman Mike Arroyo, transportation secretary Pantaleon Alvarez, labor secretary Arturo Brion, internal revenue commissioner Jose Ma. Buñag, customs commissioner Antonio Bernardo and police chief Edgardo Aglipay.

    President Arroyo also started to stack the judiciary with Utopians, beginning with Corona, Brion and Roberto Abad. But, in fairness, she also appointed her former legal counsel, Sigma Rhoan Antonio Carpio, to the Supreme Court.

    Over at the Court of Appeals, Arroyo also appointed another Utopian, Andres Reyes, one of the youngest justices who could arguably serve as presiding justice until 2020.

    And at Sandiganbayan, Utopian Norberto Geraldez was promoted presiding justice, with his term good until 2019.

    Even with, or probably because of, Benigno Aquino III becoming president, the Utopian encirclement of Malacañang continues with the appointment of Paquito Ochoa Jr. as executive secretary.

    Even the Cojuangco-Aquino’s Hacienda Luisita, another Utopian rules the roost in the person of Fernando Cojuangco.