The SC can stop the trial if there is grave abuse of power by any branch of government

The impeachment trial of Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona has certainly divided the sentiments of the Filipino people. There are Filipinos who side with the prosecution in condemning the Chief Justice despite the absence of hard evidence; there are Filipinos who side with upholding the rule of law and respecting the institutions; and then there are people who are still confused about which of the two sides they will believe.

In forums around the Net, it can be gleaned that there are still many Filipinos who are totally clueless about the law. This actually includes even our own legislators and Senators. To be fair, an impeachment proceeding is not something that Filipinos come across everyday. And this is part of the reason why applying the rules of the court seems to be a problem for both the Senator-Judges and the prosecutors, a reality that contributes to the mounting delays in the proceedings. Most of them either do not know how to follow the rules or are deliberately disregarding the rules. Not surprisingly, the defense team does not seem to have a problem with the court rules.

Some Filipinos get even more confused after the presentation of evidence from only one side is shown in court due to time constraints and more questions arise usually after the prosecutors discuss the merits of the case with the media. Now discussing the merits of the case with the media is supposed to be against the court rules but that doesn’t matter much to the prosecutors. Violating the court rules seems to come so naturally to the prosecutors much the same way that breathing does to most. They’ve been using the strategy of convincing the public of Chief Justice Corona’s guilt when the defense team is not around because they can get away with claims or suggestions without receiving any objections.

Since there are many Filipinos who are still confused about certain aspects of the case, I will try to address some “clarificatory” questions that keep popping up.

1. Why doesn’t Chief Justice Corona want to disclose his alleged dollar account?

At this point, the public is not sure if the Chief Justice really has a dollar account. The prosecution has provided illegally-obtained copies of the alleged dollar account but the witness, President of PSBank Pascual Garcia III could not confirm if that is indeed Corona’s. Due to the Foreign Currency Deposit Act of the Philippines, PSBank cannot disclose any of their client’s foreign currency deposits held in their bank. The bank can be held criminally liable if they disclose any information about their client’s account to anyone. A temporary restraining order (TRO) from the Supreme Court has been successfully granted to PSBank to protect them from being forced to surrender information about their client’s foreign currency deposits.

2. What would be the effect of allowing the illegally obtained evidence from the bank on the banking institution and the economy?

The effect could have devastating consequences. The banking industry is built on trust. Individuals and corporations “trust” their banks to handle their funds safely and with confidentiality. Once the banks lose their customers’ trust due to a breach in their confidentiality agreement with them, a bank run can occur. A bank run is when their customers panic and withdraw their funds from the bank. This can actually cause the bank to collapse.

For those who are not aware, much of the funds in a bank are actually tied up in investment portfolios and cannot be withdrawn all at the same time. A bank run does not only affect the bank alone, it can also affect other industries whose funds are tied up with the bank. Even individuals who can’t get their money once a bank’s reserves dry up will experience financial distress.

A breach in confidentiality agreements can also result in foreign and local investors who have dollar accounts packing their bags and moving elsewhere the minute they see that they could also become victims of individuals or agents who are “fishing” for information. The exodus of investors can destroy our already ailing economy and wreak havoc in our society. Business Mirror columnist, John Mangun made an observation which he shared on his Twitter account that the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) is indicating high net foreign currency selling, which could mean that the impeachment trial is affecting investor confidence.

3. Is it true that violating the Foreign Currency Deposit Republic Act 6426 can land people in jail?

Perhaps anticipating the dire consequences of such possible bank run scenarios as mentioned above, the law is clear about strict confidentiality. So the answer is yes; any person who violates the law can be jailed or fined. For everyone’s information, here is what’s stipulated in the law:

Section 8. Secrecy of foreign currency deposits. – All foreign currency deposits authorized under this Act, as amended by PD No. 1035, as well as foreign currency deposits authorized under PD No. 1034, are hereby declared as and considered of an absolutely confidential nature and, except upon the written permission of the depositor, in no instance shall foreign currency deposits be examined, inquired or looked into by any person, government official, bureau or office whether judicial or administrative or legislative, or any other entity whether public or private; Provided, however, That said foreign currency deposits shall be exempt from attachment, garnishment, or any other order or process of any court, legislative body, government agency or any administrative body whatsoever. (As amended by PD No. 1035, and further amended by PD No. 1246, prom. Nov. 21, 1977.)

4. Why can’t Chief Justice Corona simply disclose his dollar account if he has any?

That is a very hypothetical question, which I will answer hypothetically.

The Chief Justice probably does not want to disclose his alleged dollar account because for one, the presentation of his “alleged” dollar account and his existing peso accounts are not covered by the articles of impeachment. The impeachment court resolved earlier that that evidence for Article 2.4 would be disallowed. Article 2.4 pertains to the alleged “ill-gotten wealth” of the Chief Justice. Therefore, when the Senators allowed the subpoena of bank accounts, they violated their own ruling on Article 2.4. In short, the court judges contradicted themselves. It was only Senator Miriam Santiago who remembered their resolution but her appeal to stop the subpoena was junked by the rest of the Senators.

5. Why did Chief Justice Corona through his lawyers file for a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) to stop the trial?

According to defense team spokesperson Tranquil Salvador III, the TRO is “not intended to kill the trial, but to temporarily stop it.” The defense also claims that the events in the last few weeks of the trial have made them realize that the whole impeachment trial is degenerating into a persecution of the Chief Justice. The defense and many people also observe that the prosecution is violating the Chief Justice’ rights.

“We’re asking to pause and think about these events … while the Supreme Court is still determining the legality of the impeachment court’s resolution,” he said. “This is respect for the rule of law.”

Rico Paolo Quicho, another defense lawyer, said the decision to seek relief from the Supreme Court was a “wholistic approach” and a “culmination” of events, which happened during the first three weeks of Corona’s impeachment trial.

According to Quicho, they opted to file the petition “because we cannot just let the prosecution trample on the rights” of the Chief Justice.

6. In what way does the prosecution “trample” on the rights of Chief Justice Corona?

The very first time the Chief Justice’s rights were violated was when the impeachment complaint was passed despite not going through the verification process. Two lawyers have in fact, pointed out that the articles of impeachment against the Chief Justice were not verified as per the Constitution’s Article XI Section 3(2):

Lawyer and former Misamis Oriental governor Homobono Adaza and and Atty. Alan Paguia filed their petition as they pointed out articles of impeachment, which the House submitted to the Senate, fail to comply with the Constitution’s Article XI Section 3(2).

According to such provision, “a verified complaint for impeachment may be filed by any Member of the House of Representatives or by any citizen upon a resolution of endorsement by any Member thereof, which shall be included in the Order of Business within ten session days, and referred to the proper Committee within three session days thereafter.”

The impeachment complaint wasn’t verified as required so this is merely a scrap of paper which the Senate can’t assume jurisdiction over, however, Adaza and Paguia noted.

Their claim validates the allegation by some members of Congress that the impeachment complaint was rushed and railroaded and that the 188 Congressmen who signed the impeachment complaint may not have read and understood the articles of impeachment properly.

Other blatant violations on the Chief Justice’s right to due process include, the prosecution team lying about the Corona’s alleged “45 properties” to the media, the prosecution’s presentation of illegally obtained evidence, prosecution members conducting a trial by media, and the prosecution team’s fishing for evidence by seeking to subpoena bank accounts; all of which indicate that the impeachment complaint had no basis. More importantly, some Senator Judges showed their bias for the prosecution by helping the prosecution during the trial and not adhering to their own rules. These are just some of the violations that can also be criminal in nature, which members of the prosecution can be liable for.

7. Why must we strictly adhere to the law?

Laws exist to protect the individual from the potential abuse of the government and not the other way around. It is stipulated in our constitution in ARTICLE III of the BILL OF RIGHTS under Section 1:

No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law, nor shall any person be denied the equal protection of the laws.

Government officials tend to abuse their power in the Philippines, which is precisely the reason why we should ensure that the rule of the law is strictly adhered to.

8. Is it right for the Supreme Court to issue a TRO on the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Corona?

If there is a motion filed with the Supreme Court to issue a TRO on the impeachment trial, the members of the Supreme Court can act on it based on the merits of the complaint. Since they are the interpreters of the law, they will have to issue their decision based on whether or not the law has been strictly applied in the impeachment complaints and during the proceedings. It is stipulated in our constitution in ARTICLE VIII JUDICIAL DEPARTMENT:

Section 1:

The judicial power shall be vested in one Supreme Court and in such lower courts as may be established by law.

Judicial power includes the duty of the courts of justice to settle actual controversies involving rights which are legally demandable and enforceable, and to determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the Government.

And Section 5, part 5:

Promulgate rules concerning the protection and enforcement of constitutional rights, pleading, practice, and procedure in all courts, the admission to the practice of law, the integrated bar, and legal assistance to the under-privileged. Such rules shall provide a simplified and inexpensive procedure for the speedy disposition of cases, shall be uniform for all courts of the same grade, and shall not diminish, increase, or modify substantive rights. Rules of procedure of special courts and quasi-judicial bodies shall remain effective unless disapproved by the Supreme Court.

It is crystal clear that the Supreme Court has the power to stop the nonsense that is going on in the Senate impeachment court. No less than noted constitutional expert Joaquin Bernas reiterated that the Supreme Court has last say on the meaning of the law.

“What all this means is that the Supreme Court can come in when needed to determine the meaning of the law,” Bernas said.

“This does not mean superiority of the [high court] over the the other departments. All it means is that the Constitution has placed in the [Supreme Court] the power to determine with finality the meaning of the law. It means the superiority of the Constitution, and it just so happens that in the constitutional structure of our government, there is separation of responsibilities.

“There is no superiority of one over the others; there is only superiority of the Constitution over all.”

The issuance of a TRO to stop the trial should not be seen as the seed of a “constitutional crisis” because even a regular person can interpret what is written in the constitution without difficulty. The trial has already wrought enough havoc in the daily lives of those involved, not to mention long-term damage to our economy. It would be sheer arrogance on the part of the members of the legislative and executive branches of government to refuse to recognize the Supreme Court’s authority on this matter. Just like how Congressman Rudolfo Fariñas is showing his arrogance by threatening to impeach the eight judges who granted a TRO against the subpoena of Chief Justice Corona’s alleged dollar accounts. Perhaps he needs to redeem himself after the comedy act he delivered on Day 13 of the trial.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am all for uncovering the truth. I just hate the way the legislative and executive branches of government are depriving an individual, one who just happens to be a Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, of due process. After all, if Chief Justice Renato Corona were really guilty, it would be a shame that he would get away on the grounds of the prosecution’s incompetence.

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Post Author: Ilda

In life, things are not always what they seem.

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139 Comments on "The SC can stop the trial if there is grave abuse of power by any branch of government"

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jay
Guest
little boy p-noy dares corona..! if he wants to reduce the rule and process of law to the playground then i dare him to make public who he sold his hacienda luisita shares to and show he did not simply transfer to one of his sisters to publicly support the SC ruling on hacienda luisita and commit to its distribution to the farmers to deny the general knowledge that he is gay/bisexual to disclose his psychiatric report and admit that his father sent him for counselling in boston to include PDAF in FoI bill hypocrite of the first order. go… Read more »
GinTonic
Guest

Grace Lee’s skirt? great timing right?
The chikadoras are sure to be distracted by this. And look how grace lee shoot up because of this. A plus for the both parties.
Such a shame.

Der Fuhrer
Guest

Looks like the critter Vincenzo is off-line again.

Trosp
Guest

Ilda, Jeez…

I would say I’ve been reader of your posts in this blog for almost a year and there were times I was critical with some of them. (Just to dispel the notion that I always agree with you and benign0.)

This one is the best I’ve read. Well written and very insightful!

Felipe
Guest

Understandably, quite a number of people either already have withdrawn or are in the process of withdrawing their money from PSBank (a bank run as feared?) Whether Corona agrees to disclose whatever account he may have or not, the damage—consequence of this illegal access to information the prosecution and supporters, like Ma Ressa (still washing her hands), Malacañang, or moneyed connections have caused—cannot be undone.

rod
Guest

drilon, osmena& pangilinan are now the acting prosecutors? akala namin sila ang senator-judges? obvious na kakampi sila ng prosecution. Sa Defense pa rin kami ng family & friends ko

roi
Guest

Editorial of Manila Standard has this to say about Drilon:

“But then, what can we expect from the erstwhile ally of the former President that the current administration now loathes? Was this not the same senator who once told former President Gloria Arroyo that she should consider moving Malacañang to his hometown of Iloilo “where we love you”? Is such a judge to be taken at his word? Or is that, too, all for show? “

FallenAngel
Guest

Hi Miss Ilda,
This is one of your best articles yet. Engaging read.

Whatever the outcome of this trial would be, it would be a pyrrhic victory (a good thing that comes at great cost).

Meanwhile, the rest of the country is still going down the drain, and is poised to slide down for some time. PNoy apparently couldn’t care less, since he’s on cloud nine and all.

I thought I could share a link from one of GRP’s “favorite” punching bags. You’ll see exactly who it is in the link below. Makes you go hmm.

http://www.ellentordesillas.com/2012/02/10/corona-is-finished/

karim
Guest

osmena? yon nagwalanghiya sa mga senior citizen? si manong serge? di ko na iboboto yan! pangilinan? yon may akda ng batas sa pagiging konsentidor na pumatay at masangkot ang menor de edad sa karumaldumal na krimen ay ok lng? dahil wala daw muwang? hehehe, di rin kita iboboto kahit kantahan pa ako ni sharon.

karim
Guest

ilda, well done, congrats…keep up the good work!

twoface
Guest
To the writer: May I ask you some “clarificatory” questions on some of your points? P-1. Am I right with this statement that the reason why he doesn’t want to disclose his alleged dollar account is because he really doesn’t have said accounts? Follow-up question: Why won’t he just say, I don’t have any dollar accounts? What is he up to? P-2. Do you have any articles to show that bank run is indeed happening? Because from what I know, isolvency is the main reason why they run for their money. During Erap’s impeachment trial, the court also examined his… Read more »
Trosp
Guest
@twoface – Your “clarificatory” questions: P-1. Am I right with this statement that the reason why he doesn’t want to disclose his alleged dollar account is because he really doesn’t have said accounts? Follow-up question: Why won’t he just say, I don’t have any dollar accounts? (You want Ilda to be mind reader so that she can answer your “clarificatory” question. I, myself, won’t have an answer to that one. I can only speculate that if Corona answer it with anything, it will be a “dignification” of a non-issue item. The Senate court has ruled that since the Articles of… Read more »
Trosp
Guest

Maybe twoface and JCC have the same IP address…

twoface
Guest

Trosp

What is wrong with you? My comment was addressed to the writer in the first place. I didn’t ask you to reply so please spare me your ire with this JCC. If you don’t want me posting comments, just say so. Because you’re acting like you own this site. If you feel like I’m a threat to the readers here, I will respect your space and leave.

Trosp
Guest
@twoface Hey dude, what happen to your reading comprehension? I’m telling the commenters here that you want Ilda to be a mind reader to answer your nonsensical question. (You want Ilda to be mind reader so that she can answer your “clarificatory” question. I, myself, won’t have an answer to that one. I can only speculate that if Corona answer it with anything, it will be a “dignification” of a non-issue item.) I’m telling the commenters here that my interpretation of your comment is a taunt to the writer. I’m telling the commenters here that I’m perflexed that you don’t… Read more »
RBM of Mindanao
Member

Ihave speculations that if some banks get bancrupt, the Pnoy cronies will buy it and thereby controlling the banking system in the country.

Felipe
Guest

@twoface

P-6. That is your opinion. I respect that.

It’s more than a matter of opinion. The prosecution trampled on Corona’s rights and continues to do so no matter how keen you are at denying this simple FACT.

Belinda Madrid
Guest

BRAVO!!!!!

Der Fuhrer
Guest
The Senate Impeachment Court is not infallible nor above the power of checks and balances. This is a universal truth enshrined in the 1987 Philippine Constitution. Ignorance(gross) or deliberate disinformation shows… Mr. Aquino, some senator judges and members of the prosecution cannot admit an unfounded premise that they are above the Constitution, its underlying principles and provisions. For truly, ours is a rule of law and not of men. We adhere to the principles of co-equality, co-independence and checks and balances. Due process and the presumption of innocence of the accused. The rules of the Senate Impeachment Court are also… Read more »
Sphynx
Guest
I also believe that the SC has the power to define/interpret a matter of law for the Senate. Given that there is a possible situation/scenario wherein the Senate maybe made up of non lawyers, as such they would not be able to properly interpret the law with that handicap. As such, the SC , as interpreter of laws, can step in, as I can see. But in no way, I belive, does the interpretation of the SC on matters of law interfere with the proceedings but rather it is merely a corrective measure to avoid instances of what we see… Read more »
Lord Chimera
Guest

The Yellow Executive does not want to be corrected, it want it’s whims to be rubber-stamped by a compliant Judiciary.

Der Fuhrer
Guest
Heil Der Nutzi Fuhrer EvilNoy! The greatest Nutzi genius of the master orange(yellow+red)race! His blitzkrieg Black Propaganda and Trial by Publicity is a continuing war! Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it! Such great Nutzi evil examples are now to be emulated! Ja! It is now an instrument of public policy! Der great Nutzi Fuhrer teaches even children how to lie! His cronies also lie! Everyone in the improved society who is mesmerized by his subliminal words also lie! Thus he lies that the Impeachment Court is supreme and above the… Read more »
Der Fuhrer
Guest

Is Mr. Aquino destroying democratic government?

http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20120210com1.html

Der Fuhrer
Guest

On the sleeping president, the shadow government and the unofficial police force.
Is there a red connection?

http://www.tribuneonline.org/metro/20120204met1.html

ChinoF
Member

For one thing, allowing someone else access to your bank records is like allowing someone to rape you. It’s basically mentioning willingness for someone to abuse you. It may even lead for the government to call for the bank secrecy law repealed, which in turn will lead to more abuse. That’s why Corona has to resist calls to open his bank accounts. If he did, it would mean, “when the gov’t tells you to jump off a cliff, you must submit. It you don’t, we will punish you.”

FallenAngel
Guest

Is it just my imagination, or are there a number of Pinoys who mistake/confuse “need to know” for/with “want to know”? They try to justify their “inggit”, “pakialamero” or voyeuristic tendencies “in the name of truth and justice”, so to speak.

What makes it even sadder is that there are people like these in government.

aj
Guest

Also, isn’t the burden of proof on the prosecutor’s side? Or was the lack thereof started “small lady” business? And as the accused, why the hell should he bend over backwards and give them what they want? If those bafoons styling themselves as prosecutors have any smidgen of sense in them, quit the fishing and show that “explosive evidence”.

aj
Guest

Also, isn’t the burden of proof on the prosecutor’s side? Or was the lack thereof started “small lady” business? And as the accused, why the hell should he bend over backwards and give them what they want? If those bafoons styling themselves as prosecutors have any smidgen of sense in them, quit the fishing and show that “explosive evidence”.

Great article Ilda! Hope to read more!

Aegis-Judex
Guest

Which is why I sometimes go all “scorched earth” when it comes to certain things. Exempli gratia, my cell phone. Since sometimes my bros poke their noses into it, I make a habit out of erasing messages and dialed numbers to deny them their intrigue fuel.

Xrystiann
Guest

How do you expect some Filipinos to understand this simple concept, “tuyo’t sardinas lagi ang ulam, walang nutrients na pumapasok sa utak. At yan ang inaabuso ng nasa posisyon.”

Roy
Guest

Blinded countrymen are victims of the Yellow Propaganda. Usually or almost all victims are the so called ” Chismosa ” and ” KSP ” That is why they don’t understand the word Privacy.

ici
Guest
as teddyboy locsin et al were saying in their radio show: as per the constitution, the senate has the sole power to be an impeachment court, but the supreme court has the power to tell them HOW to conduct the trial to make sure that the constitution, and the respondent’s rights, are not trampled on. the bill of rights is there to protect the individual from the many. even marcos could not take it away during martial law, though there were many violations during that time. apparently, and ironically, the same seem to be happening now. thank you for the… Read more »
roi
Guest

As what Fr. Bernas said, all branches of government are co-equal, only the constitution is supreme over all. Impeachment is not so spacial that such principle would be disregarded. While the Senate has the power to try and decide impeachment cases, the SC has the power to resolve questions ABOUT the impeachment proceedings. Now what is the role of Malacanang then? To borrow the term of one lawyer from the prosecution, CHUWARIWARIWAP.

Val
Guest

How We can check the supreme court? NO AT ALL they are high and above the law because they are the final arbiter and interpreter of the law so, we cannot check them because of that power. How dare to use that term? Please do not abuse that term its ambiguous.

Hyden Toro
Guest
What I’ve learned from all these impeachment show: is that the President and his followers can just violate laws…they cannot be held in contempt. Because they’re above the law. If Corona will allow to disclose his Bank Account. It will be a precedent. That, you can sue people who have have bank accounts. Get the information of how much money they have; sell the information to bad ass Kidnappers…so that they will know how much ransom, the person can pay, once they kidnapped him or her.. These prosecutor idiots do not care the bad effects of what they are doing.… Read more »
Der Fuhrer
Guest

Is Mr. Lacierda an expert on the Constitution or a true adherent of black propaganda?

http://www.philstar.com/Article.aspx?articleId=776264&publicationSubCategoryId=64

Der Fuhrer
Guest
Trosp
Guest
I also fin this one insightful – http://casaveneracion.com/sassylawyer/corona-impeachment-day-4-the-parade-of-tcts-and-ccts/#more-26739 “It then boils down to numbers. In the end, will there be more pro-Noynoy than anti-Noynoy? We have to consider that in extraordinary circumstances like this, political realignments happen. The left-leaning members of the Lower House, for instance, traditionally antagonistic toward the administration, have obviously aligned themselves with the administration lawmakers because they now share the same objective — eliminate Corona as a first step toward going after Gloria Arroyo. Yes, that is what this is. When the administration went after Gloria Arroyo, Corona’s sin was the issuance of a TRO that… Read more »
mona lisa rendoque
Guest

this is a great read.. .i do hope more people will get to read and appreciate this article simply because it is objectively written.

Der Fuhrer
Guest
@Trosp Thank you for the info. Mr. Aquino likes numbers games in his mind only. But what about the silent majority? Total number of the present population less the 15 million who voted for him, less the very sane numbers who departed the madness of the yellows mass equals the silent majority. The reds who aligned with Mr. Aquino did so out of political opportunism. Their insidious deception is very apparent as they continue to infiltrate the very corridors of power. I believe GMA, CJ Corona and those tagged guilty by association are just distractions. The real objective may lead… Read more »
Trosp
Guest

@Der Fuhrer

Penoy is unquestionably a useful idiot. He has no ideology. It does not matter whether you are a communist or a scalawag. Foremost for him is you’re his KKK + K. (The last K is for katsismisan.)

A PrEsident in Name onlY.

Der Fuhrer
Guest
@Trosp Beware of the enemy within. Mr. Aquino is a dangerous man. He uses political opportunism to promote his hidden agendas. His ideology is seen through the following truths: 1.Ninoy Aquino had an informal alliance with Jose Maria Sison and networked with the reds. He gave them arms, funding and medical attention. He gave them sanctuary. 2.Cory Aquino released Jose Maria Sison from captivity. 3.The present Mr. Aquino released the Morong 43. He was reported by the free press as sleeping with the (red) enemy in the highest corridors of power. He is silent on the shadow government People’s Democratic… Read more »