Day of infamy for the Lower House as impeachment prosecution team betrays the public trust

From non-newsworthy boring to the biggest explosive drama yet. That was today’s session in the on-going impeachment trial of Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona. And despite this and the last several sessions being the turn of the defense team to present their case to the tribunal, the drama still revolved around the already evident idiocy of the prosecution team. The slow death-by-pahiya of the prosecution panel was presided over by tough-as-nails defense counsel Noel Lazaro who made the prosecution panel admit item-by-item the ruling out as “cancelled” of at least 17 of the 45 properties brandished by the prosecution team led by Niel Tupas Jr to the media at the start of the trial. Of the remaining 28 properties, only five were found to be directly under name of Corona and his wife Cristina — a far cry from the shocking outrage of 45 properties that the prosecution insinuated was acquired by Corona under suspicious circumstances.

Defense attorney Noel Lazaro

Suffice to say, the cocky smirk sported by private prosecution attorney Jose Justiniano who issued admissions to each of the items Lazaro cited as “cancelled” was soon wiped off. It all went pear-shaped for the prosecution henchmen when Senator-Judge Joker Arroyo took the podium to issue some clarificatory questions to Land Registration Authority (LRA) head Eulalio Diaz III. Diaz maintained he was but a messenger of data outputted by an LRA computer showing that Corona supposedly owned 45 properties — data he signed-off on in a certification letter he issued to the prosecution team to affirm this number. But then the former Atenista and presidential schoolmate may as well have admitted that the computer was the boss. He did have a point though (if only he had not signed off on any written certification) when he said that “it is not the task of the LRA to verify the veracity of the information generated by the LRA database.” After all, it was the prosecution team who submitted the “information” as evidence to the impeachment court.

Diaz as it turns out, was a schoolmate of President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III. National constitutionalist extraordinaire and former Ateneo de Manila president Father Joaquin Bernas would have been mortified. Diaz and his chum(p) Noynoy were after all, the supposed “men for others” (now since deemed a politically-incorrect term) that form part of the proud tradition of the Ateneo alumni community. Thankfully, brilliant defense attorney Dennis Manalo, also a true-blue Atenean continues to stand tall to single-handedly redeem the name of the great institution of learning.

Nonetheless, for the first time in this trial, Senator-Judges other than Miriam Santiago were visibly peeved with the prosecution. This was certainly going to be a day that would go down in history as a day of infamy for the House of Representatives who, as we recall, saw 188 of its once-esteemed members flick the sloppily-written Articles of Impeachment onto the lap of the Upper House like a piece of hardened snot.

Complicit in this project to morph Corona’s impeachment into the national embarrassment that it is today was a very “cooperative” Philippine mainstream media mob that, parroted to its vacuous audience just about every press release made by the prosecution team. It will be interesting to see if there will be any rectification made on the volumes of “news reports” issued by this small inbred clique of freedom of speech “champions”.

Most ironic of all is the prosecution allegation that Corona “betrayed the public trust”. It is evident now that it had been the House-Media-Malacañang political complex that did just that — a deliberate wholesale misleading of an entire nation. Not only was the chief magistrate of the Republic subjected to a trial that made even the Senate look like a bunch of chumps, the privacy of a number of people caught in the LRA database search dragnet mounted by Diaz were also violated.

Senate Pro Tempore Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada then asked why there were titles in the names of former Quezon City Mayor Ismhael Mathay and the National Housing Authority, Diaz said because the titles were sold to a certain Constantino Castillo, the name sake of Corona’s son-in-law.

One saving grace for the mob we can grant: it turns out that Raissa Robles, may not have been the alleged “small lady” after all — a small victory for a political bloc that squandered millions of taxpayer’s dough and a priceless chunk of the national attention span grasping at straws. Wait, there is another saving grace. At least Media are now back in business. After a big yawn over the “boring” foundations of evidence patiently and systematically laid by the defense over the last few days, they finally get their newsworthy drama this week.

But the real winners here continue to be the class act that is Corona’s brilliant defense team led by Serafin Cuevas. Today’s session showcased just how good these guys are, in the way they each held their own — Manalo, Lazaro, and Jose Roy III on the floor and Tranquil Salvador together with Karen Jimeno working the press — despite their fearless leader home resting after suffering from a persistent case of vertigo.

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51 Comments on “Day of infamy for the Lower House as impeachment prosecution team betrays the public trust”

  1. I am interested to know what you thought of Presiding Judge Enrile? Something is happening to him…seems winds shifting directions? I hope I am wrong.

    1. My observations, too. He has practically declared Corona guilty by not putting in the Acquisition Costs and/or by not putting the condo unit at the Columns in the SALN as asset – whether receivables or investments before 2010.

    2. On that point he will harp about the accounting requirements of the SALN but you can remember his questions to Cong. Barzaga before. “If the CJ did not file his SALN properly, what crime did he commit?” “He can be charged with perjury, your honor.” “Is that a high crime?”

    3. agree. i have seen/sensed a shift in enrile stance.
      maybe just tired. lets hope he retains his impartiality. it is after all his last chance to rectify some of his past misdemeanours.

      personally i would dispense with all the so called senator judges and let santiago decide the case – love her or hate her she is a cut above legally and has no vested interest as she heads for brussels

      1. i share the same observation on Enrile. He has an entirely different point of view on how the SALN entries should be treated. i feel some danger in there for the CJ.

      2. Enrile was actually being sarcastic. After telling them they should have looked at Corona’s home province first, he also quickly added “too late”.
        Besides, Enrile probably knows the CJ doesn’t have any properties outside the NCR.
        Now, if the prosecution is hoping that to be a clue for a saving grace, then they are most probably going on a wild goose chase. I wouldn’t be surprised if they actually scrambled to Batangas, since Tupas thanked JPE for the “suggestion”. It’s like thanking someone for calling you a moron. LOL

  2. A full-page ad in major dailies that shows the photos of Tupas, Quimbo, Angara & Tanada with a big caption “ISANG MALAKING BABALA SA PUBLIKO: HUWAG IBOTO/TULARAN ANG MGA SINUNGALING NA PULITIKO!” will give justice to the people they betrayed.

  3. Diaz was not just a schoolmate, he was a classmate of PNoy in grade 7. I noticed he was so hesitant in answering Senator Jinggoy’s query. Diaz should be fired for the mess he created and for being careless and incompetent.

      1. “No Member” of Congress, of course “shall be questioned nor be held liable in any other place for any speech or debate in the Congress or in any committee thereof.”

        But, “wishing for the moon” notwithstanding, what is worrisome here is that the prosecutors evidently knew (or at the least presumed to know) that they were lying through their teeth. And, with a straight face, they don’t seem to care at all if they would be caught lying, to the extent of comically justifying these lies (Umali and Banal) and matter-of-factly repeating these false accusations (Tupas) unperturbed during interviews–all the while seemingly confident that there was nothing terribly wrong with what they were doing.

        So, what is happening is that lying is now being normalized, nonchalantly rationalized, and even treated as merely routine, sort of SOP, or the way things are or ought to be done–and that, more worrisome, the public should accept as modus operandi … period.

        But these are, sadly, not just “white lies”; these prosecutors are brazenly lying in public (or preparing misleading statements offered) during solemn court proceedings held to remove the Chief Justice, no less. And this is precisely why, if these deceptions constitute “prosecutorial misconduct,” the Defense should (at least, for the “record” as “precedent of note”) raise this very issue to the impeachment court.

        1. anakngbaka:

          Not only is it “industry practice,” anakngbaka, it has now become, sadly, the ideal “Industry policy” of governance in this country!

          So, what do you call a group of persons (a litter of “pigs” would be right-on) who tries to pass off as genuine a title to real property that has already been stamped “CANCELLED”?

          And what do you call wimps, anakngbaka, who defend the wickedness of those who have lost their sense of decency, their sense of good conduct and right manners, their sense of respect, their sense of being a Filipino?

          But who is to be blamed? Will we now blame their utterly irresponsible parents who reared them up in such a despicable way they were similarly taught by their equally bad-mannered forebears?

          Those who want to frolic in that rotten path of disrespect their parents and forebears before them lectured their off-springs to imitate can very well continue with how badly they were reared up and even pass them on to their children as well–that’s their problem, not mine.

          But, as for me, anakngbaka, a greying senior, ready to go, I’ll persist in inculcating my own grandchildren–as I persevered in teaching my children, their parents–with the same basic lessons of politeness, civility and proper conduct my generation of forebears were consistent in teaching me and our clan to behave and treat our fellow human beings, our brother Filipinos–“MANO PO!”

      1. Aegis-Judex, precisely; that was what I was getting to, since no one among the 188– including PNoy, the chief accuser–would qualify!

  4. Yes, computers are supposed to do the thinking for government officials! Egad, what has this country come to?

    The defense team is a well oiled machine. Even if the head got sick (no pun intended), the other parts of the body still move.

    I wonder how will the biased media spin this one?

  5. Truly, the defense panel is a powerhouse team. They’re very direct and matter-of-fact. 🙂

    I wish Ms Jimeno would also direct examine a witness. Hihihi

    1. I agree. They’re showing to the nation that they are not only good in the media. They are very good in the actual trial unlike quimbo who accussed Justice Cuevas of depending the crooks but refused to go to head to head in the court.

  6. Good evening, I enjoy going through each article published and find enlightenment in them. I even enjoyed those blogs from anti-pinoy.com.
    My simple request is, may we have more articles regarding the current economic state of our country? I do understand that as long as this trial continues, everything else is in a stand still. However, if we find more objective and educational articles about the RH bill, inflation rates – especially the recently fare hikes and oil prices hike – and others, that really directly concern every Filipino, this site would be frequented by the usually, uncaring Filipinos as they are given a chance to understand how the market should work. Or maybe I just dunno where to find such article on this blog site. 🙂
    Thanks for the wonderful articles and crazy commentries…

      1. Oh yes I have and shared it in Facebook and guess what??? No likes or comments…it is sad how many so called educated disregard such thoughts…I was once told that I can never come up the ladder as I am idealistic not realistic for believing that the current setup can be changed as I do not want to join the politics in our office and was being made to believe that integrity, diligence and are NOT the key ingredients to success…sad sad sad predicament…scratch my back and I will scratch yours…stupid concept…

        1. @itchyBB

          Thanks for sharing it anyway. I share my articles with my own friends knowing full well that they won’t even bother commenting or anything. A lot of them are PNoy supporters. I just believe in the concept called “inception”. They might not believe what I am saying now but when the proverbial brown spot hits the fan, and that I can guarantee, they will remember what I said.

      2. That just means when it comes to serious matters and issues of technical consequence, people who are passionate about those simply need to work harder. Politics in the Philippines is a field for vacuous smooth talkers and that is tragic. Unfortunately, it is also the reality. But as you can see, the wealthiest men in the world today were all quiet achievers. It means ultimately that real stable wealth resides where solid foundations are built.

  7. speaking of the economy… in the news tonight are the protesters who are becoming angrier and bolder and former budget sec Ben Diokno sounding angry as he is being interviewed about the economy and rising prices of everything that he predicts unrest. He even said “hindi naman nakikinig si Pinoy eh, kahit sa mga tao nya”. Hmm, growing signs of discontent, while this administration responds with band-aid, dole-outs, short-term dumb moves. I have to see Winnie Monsod’s show on Wednesday over GMA Channel 11.

    1. The signs of unrest are increasing, the people are beginning to wake up.
      Soon, it will become too late for Pnoy to save his reputation if this “noynoying” continues….

  8. I think CJ Corona did not commit an impeachable offense.. remember if a particular public officer fails to declare an asset, a correction mechanisms are provided for by the law itself.. if that case CJ Corona corrected it by declaring it in the 2010 SALN..

  9. The impeachment process is as much political (or even more than) as it is legal. The CJ could have misdeclared even just one peso–but if the senators think that such act amounts to a betrayal of public trust, then the solution is not to vote for them in the next elections. There is no high crime that must be committed before you can be impeached. It’s a check and balance. The senators check the judiciary, we check the senators. So if you don’t agree with what they’re doing make it known by not voting for those whose decisions you don’t agree with.

    As for the 188 congressmen who signed the resolution, the people voted for them. If the people think they are not being properly represented, they should speak out, and the best way again is not to vote for them or their political parties next elections.

    The CJ is being impeached because our legislators (and Malacanang) think that he is unfit for the office. He is not being convicted of any crime. In fact, he won’t go to jail even if “convicted” by the impeachment court, nor will his assets be forfeited.

    What is the check on Malacanang and the legislators? Again, don’t vote for those politicians in the next elections or their political parties in the next election, if you don’t agree with their policies or decisions.

    1. Unfortunately (or fortunately) our political process is outlined in our Constitution. If we don’t like it we should change it… or there are extra constitutional means like people power. However, it’s not such a long time if you think about it. We will elect 12 senators and all our congressmen in a little more than a year. If you don’t like them, don’t vote for them. Make yourself heard. Campaign for the alternative.

      1. isnt that part of the problem
        money buys votes and its an incestuous merry go round amongst the corrupt clans
        tell me who has integrity, commitment, a good wok ethic, achievements, and puts the country before himself.
        please – who. i will help fund him

      2. Idling

        Sec. 8 of R.A. 6713 (1989) provides that:
        http://www.lawphil.net/statutes/repacts/ra1989/ra_6713_1989.html

        Senators and Congressmen “shall file under oath their Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth and a Disclosure of Business Interests and Financial Connections and those of their spouses and unmarried children under eighteen (18) years of age living in their households … on or before April 30, of every year … with the Secretaries of the Senate and the House of Representatives, respectively.”

        In the case of “constitutional and national elective officials [PNoy among them], the same shall be filed “with the national office of the Ombudsman.”

        The same Section 8 provides further that: “Any statement filed under this Act shall be available to the public”; and that “Any and all statements filed under this Act, shall be made available for inspection at reasonable hours [and] Any person requesting a copy of a statement shall be required to pay a reasonable fee to cover the cost of reproduction and mailing of such statement, as well as the cost of certification.”

        So, anytime after April 30th, any concerned citizen can request a copy of the SALNs PNoy as well as the 188 Congressmen who signed the impeachment complaint filed at the designated offices. In fact, the concerned citizens can even request for a copy of the SALNS the foregoing officials filed during the last ten (10) years.

        And, similarly as in the case of CJ Corona, if these aforementioned officials, and to quote, “misdeclared even just one peso” in their SALNS filed under oath, the concerned citizen may file the necessary complaint “arising from violations of [R.A. 6713] to the proper authorities for appropriate action.”

        Hence, other than waiting for the electoral process, a concerned citizen is not without recourse.

  10. The EIGHT Commandment: Thou Shall Not Bear False Witness Against Thy Neighbors.

    The allegations stated here are unsubstantiated, and making it appear as truth. It’s the Lenten season. Stop peddling lies and REPENT!

    1. As the trial progresses, it becomes increasingly evident that the 8th commandment’s worst enemies are Malacañang, the 188 representatives, the prosecution, and their blind supporters—e.g. media, Pulse Asia, Aquino cult-followers, yellow/liberal party propagandists. The defense has so far been consistent in exposing the lies of Aquino and his supporters.

      Pretty interesting to see how yellow supporters resort to a show of conviction by simply repeating already debunked myths about the CJ, deluding themselves much like fanatical Talibans into thinking that such conviction would be enough to magically turn mere false accusations into truth or fact.

      1. agree. they have all brought shame in themselves and the country – not that they have the integrity to even care. how dare they ruin the country further for their own self interests.
        tupas in his new 100 million peso house and brand new mercedes. disgusting

  11. In a semi-related issue, let me share you this great quote:

    “…The life of the Alliance is at an end! Its politicians play with power…. Its citizens have turned over government to the politicians, instead of participating in it themselves! The people have democratic principles on their lips, but cannot spare the effort to safeguard them! The collapse of a government is the sin of its rulers and leaders. The collapse of democratic rule is the sin of every citizen.”

    Where did this quote come from? Not from a philosopher or political analyst, but from an anime of all things (search for Legend of the Galactic Heroes)!

    It just reminded me of this when I realized that our country is now facing the same predicament as to what happened to the corrupt Alliance in the anime.

    I just hope you’ll respect my two cents on this matter, even if it comes from an unconventional source…

    1. You just reminded me that I really need to find time to watch LoGH! The sheer length of the series is intimidating, but your quote might just be enough to motivate me… 😀

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