To speak or not to speak? That is the question

Starting about two weeks ago, Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona started conducting interviews with the media, and also started appearing more often in public forums. These were the forums wherein he spoke out against every accusation leveled at him by the President, his critics, and the Basas.

Was it truly a wise decision for him to come out speaking to the media? Objectively speaking, he was never a match for President Aquino, who is backed up by media juggernauts ABS-CBN and PDI. Between a scholar with a soft voice and a moron with a megaphone, who do you think the people are going to listen to? The answer is the no-brainer.

With one week to go before the Senate goes into recess on March 23, they are aiming to reach a verdict in the current impeachment trial before doing so. Everybody, most especially the senator-judges themselves, is growing tired of it, and his/her patience has already worn out due to this proceeding that has more or less played out like a telenovela. It is also not a stretch of the imagination to say that this trial has brought development in the country to a halt.

Undoubtedly, the question on a lot of people’s minds is this: Is Chief Justice (CJ) Renato Corona going to take the witness stand or not?

Indeed, only CJ Corona can truly explain all the numbers with regards to his properties, liabilities, income, and so on. Yet he does not have to. Under Article 3, section 17 of the Constitution, no person shall be compelled to be a witness against himself. Some may argue that the above provision only applies to criminal cases, and that this one is not. Yet it still does not change the fact that ultimately, it is the defense council’s prerogative if he is to testify.

More importantly, one should ask: should CJ Corona even take the witness stand? Dig deeper, and you will find even more important questions that need to be answered first.
1. Who stands to benefit if he testifies?
2. Will his testimony actually help his own case?
3. What does CJ Corona stand to gain, or lose, once he does take the witness stand?
4. Does the concept of truth, that supposedly CJ Corona’s testimony will unlock, have actual substance in it, or is it yet another vacuous claim purported by the vox stultorum?
5. Is the failure to disclose acquisition cost actually an impeachable offense?

It is simple, really. Putting CJ Corona on the witness stand is like sending in a hunter into the tiger’s cave alone. The prosecution lawyers will only be too willing and gigil na gigil(eager) to humiliate him, instead of cross-examining him properly, like real lawyers do. The senators who have clearly shown their allegiance to the President will only be too happy to pounce on him and serve him up to the king of the pack in pieces. Even senator Enrile’s promise that he would resign should disrespect be shown to CJ Corona is not going to help. He is actually the one person who has kept some sort of order amid the chaos in this kangaroo court of a trial. Those who have been eyeing his seat will only be too happy that the number of dissenting voices will be one less. Does Franklin Drilon come to mind, anyone?

Putting CJ Corona on the witness stand will just compound the big error that this whole impeachment trial was from the very start. Thanks to Congressman Tiangco’s testimony, that the impeachment complaint was railroaded and defective from the start is no longer hearsay.

In a way, I understand Senator Enrile’s ruling that the SALN’s of other officials is immaterial to CJ Corona’s case. What I do not understand is whether he and the other open minds in the Senate have already seen the bigger picture. The Chief Justice is merely being used as an example, and a scapegoat being hung out to dry.

The law must apply to all, or none at all.

Regarding the SALN discrepancies, let’s do it this way. Why don’t they audit the SALN’s of each and every member of Congress and see how well he/she can explain whatever discrepancies could come out? If Malacañang is quick to dismiss any doubts on Butch Abad’s SALN, why don’t we get a third-party auditor, unaffiliated with the President, or any Philippine law maker, for that matter? Why don’t we see how well every single congressman can explain everything on the statement? Why are the congressmen so afraid of putting their own statements on the line if they have got nothing to hide?

Pandora’s box has already been opened with this impeachment trial, anyway. Why don’t we take out the last remaining thing, hope, as well? Hope in what, exactly? Is this trial going to be the one thing that is going to breach the Filipino’s tolerance for impunity? Will this trial set the precedent for any and all steps that we are going to take towards finally getting the transparent government we have been failing at for almost three decades?

If there is one person whom I would personally like to see testify, it is the President himself, Benigno Aquino III. It is the ultimate opportunity for accuser and accused to meet face-to-face in court. Yet if the Senate are unable to subpoena the judges of the Supreme Court, I doubt they will have more success summoning him. And frankly, I think his testimony will add nothing of substance.


About FallenAngel

А вы, друзья, как ни садитесь, все в музыканты не годитесь. - But you, my friends, however you sit, not all as musicians fit.

Post Author: FallenAngel

А вы, друзья, как ни садитесь, все в музыканты не годитесь. - But you, my friends, however you sit, not all as musicians fit.

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22 Comments on "To speak or not to speak? That is the question"

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apart from a 10 Billion payday for cojuangco-aquino clan if corona is acquitted, a friendly CJ who sits as the influential figure on all election tribunals would be a vast help in 2013 and 2016 elections, by which time only idiits would vote for the LP. no wonder drilon acting as prosecutor in chief

Joe America
The trial is a patchwork of legal and political forces, and Mr. Corona is in a box. If he fails to testify, he adds to the (political) impression that he is hiding. If he testifies, he risks the hazards that are pronounced in the old saw “it is better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool than to open it and remove all doubt”. I think one of the minor lessons that has come from the trial is that the rules for compiling an SALN, and evidently the form itself, are not very clear. Acquisition cost is… Read more »

i, for one, hope corona won’t fall for the bait. it is up to the prosecution to prove his guilt, and not him to prove his innocence. the pressure that the senators are putting on the defense to have corona testify is obvious…and like you, i also feel that they want this so they can pounce on him.

more power to you FallenAngel!


Article 3, section 17 of the Constitution, “no person shall be compelled to be a witness against himself” is a contradiction in itself. Normally, when a person pleaded innocence, he will move heaven and earth to be heard. The most commonsensical response is to disprove them all under oath.

But then again, we may credit Corona for being smart, but honesty,… never his defining attribute.

It’s so “in-your-face-you-just-have-to-think” obvious: the accused is afraid he would not be able to put two and two together.

the more

Only the guilty is afraid to testify. Of course we all know he is guilty of trying to hide his wealth. Only the naive is willing to give him the benefit of the doubt and agree on negligence. He is not only a lawyer but the Chief Justice for pete’s sake. If anyone should be measured with the highest standard of integrity and to understand and strictly follow the law, then it should be the Chief Justice, more than anyone else. In short, he failed to stand up to the highest qualities of a chief magistrate, one who renders final… Read more »
Hyden Toro

I am simply tired of the Court Show…it’s boring already…while high cost of living, creeping on us. Noynoy Aquino and his family still own the land they swindled: the Hacienda Luisita; that was the root cause of the Corona impeachment…


The whole point of Corona testifying is a trap, an obvious one,for the CJ.

The question WHEN “BINABAOY o GINAGAGO” Corona will count. A pretense of “clarifying” questions will be barraged, seeing no one can intervene with this will turn into more interrogation and demonizing the CJ, especially done by Palace allies.

Even if Enrile quits, it will weaken or might destroy the credibility of the impeachment court, but it will not faze those who has ambition and the circus will be placed maximum throttle.