Dean Tony La Viña’s call for Corona to resign misses the real point

According to Dean Tony La Viña in his piece “Everything but the truth” published on ‘social news network’ site Rappler.com, “The truth demands stringent rigor, a burden enough to break lesser men. The Supreme Court carries a heavy responsibility as the adjudicator of the truth in the cases it hears. What we saw [in Chief Justice Renato Corona in his testimony to the Senate court] on Tuesday, May 22, fails to live up to the demands of that rigor and responsibility.”

Trouble is, Dean, there is also this rather often-quoted principle: The burden of proof lies upon the accuser. The question therefore is this: Did the accusers — the 188 Lower House “representatives” of this great land — articulate clearly and in precise terms the nature of their accusations?

Get Real Post writer Hector Gamboa cited the fundamental flaw in the prosecution case way back in the earliest days of the impeachment trial

The fact remains that the prosecution’s basis for the charge of amassing ill-gotten wealth through his stature and close connection to GMA is merely a suspicion. Defense counsel Serafin Cuevas was correct to point out to the prosecutor:

“[By your logic], you and I can be sentenced to death by mere suspicion? We’re dealing here with the fate and future of the Chief Justice. [We are not basing case] on what is suspect,”

I am also bewildered, as Justice Cuevas is, why the prosecution’s plea is based on mere suspicions and not ultimate facts as the Rules of Pleading state that:

“A pleading is verified by an affidavit that the affiant has read the pleading and that the allegations therein are true and correct of his knowledge and belief.”

If the prosecution charges the CJ of illegally amassing wealth as proven by the comparison of his SALns from before he was appointed to the Supreme Court up to during his tenure at the High Tribunal, then doesn’t this imply that they really had no basis to verify their allegation because prior to the Senate impeachment trial, they never had any access to the CJ’s SALn? How can the complainants have attested to the veracity of the prosecution’s pleading if they could not have any correct knowledge of the allegations?

Indeed, no less than a key member of the prosecution panel, Representative Rodolfo Fariñas admitted he had declined to join his 188 colleagues in the Lower House in signing the Articles of Impeachment because the document was “badly done”…

“Mabagal kasi akong bumasa eh, kaya nung prinisenta sa’min ‘yan … nung nakapirma na ‘yung panghuli — maraming speed reader kasi diyan eh — dahil sobra-sobra ang pumirma na, 188, ‘di na kailangan ang pirma ko at masama pagkagawa ng complaint (I read slowly and when the complaint was presented to us … when the last one had signed — there are many speed readers there — because so many had already signed, 188, my signature was no longer needed and the complaint was badly done),” Fariñas said.

So I wonder then, Dean, whether it is really the beleaguered Corona who you should be lecturing about “the demands of that rigor and responsibility”.

It is interesting to note that La Viña is Harvey Keh’s “mentor” at that venerable institute of learning, the Ateneo de Manila University. Recall that Keh was caught lying under oath on the witness stand in the 16th May session of Corona’s impeachment trial. Furthermore, that instance of lying under oath was just one of two counts of less-than-ethical behaviour, the first being Keh’s rather self-important transmittal of unverified information to the office of no less than the presiding officer of said court, Senator-Judge Juan Ponce Enrile.

Having learned nothing from what could otherwise have been a character-building experience, Keh had only this to say: “I can now proudly say that I survived the berating and admonishment of Sen. Miriam!”

Classy.

If the good Dean wasn’t too busy being a guest “thought leader” in that self-described “social media network” that pretends to be a bastion of modern thought leadership, perhaps he would have grasped the irony in the way his pompous apprentice grandstanded about what he implies is a monumental feat of survival after only a few minutes of “admonishment” by the honourable Senator-Judge Miriam Santiago while Chief Justice Corona took months of concerted demonisation engineered by some of the most powerful men in the land in the chin and still got up the nerve and energy to deliver three hours of testimony on the stand.

To recap so far, Dean, just as you lecture no less than the Chief Justice on the merits of stepping up to the demands of “rigor and responsibility”, wouldn’t you find it a bit quaintly amusing that you so conveniently gloss over (1) the far bigger outrage in the way the prosecution team so many times over the last months attempted to insult the intelligence of the Senate impeachment court with their borderline criminal stunts and (2) the fact of some bozo under your supposed tutelage mounting such an astoundingly embarrassing spectacle as to bring to question the quality and character of the faculty of that proud Jesuit institution that employs you?

It is too bad that La Viña starts his piece in the manner that he did considering he goes at some length into what are really quite sensible personal takes on the dodgy manner with which the whole impeachment trial had been conducted and the lynch-mob-like behaviour of the people who jeered and vilified the Chief Justice while turning a blind eye to (or even endorsing) the prosecution team’s blatant falsification and misrepresentation of evidence.

However, much of that attempt at “balance” is outweighed by the lack of broader perspective La Viña applies to pinning upon Corona what are really broader fundamental issues about Philippine governance. He cites, for example, how Corona’s application of dollar bank account secrecy laws “sets a bad example and precedent to all other public officials”, when the dynamic really at work in the bigger scheme of things is more aptly embodied in the way those who persecute and judge him now nervously come to realise the full implication of where all this is headed on their own personal financial fortunes.

La Viña also jumps off from Corona’s claim that he suffered a hypoglycemia-induced episode at the end of his testimony to pontificate on the merits of “Mens sana in corpore sano: a sound mind in a sound body”. He likens the public servant Corona to a soldier whose responsibility it is to always be prepared, “mind and body,” for the rigours of the “battle” ahead. He extends that concept to question Corona’s overall fitness to continue as Chief Justice given these health challenges he now observes — never mind that there are some obviously, to put it mildly, rather overweight people who represent relevant factors in any effort to put Corona’s health issues in the proper perspective.

Indeed, we choose to see things the way we want to see them, and tend to take on the views of people within our immediate circles of friends and family. To be fair to Tony La Viña he, as he wrote, remained consistent to his call for due process and Corona’s entitlement to a competent defense “even in the face of criticism by many friends”. But his ultimate conclusion — that Corona should resign to “spare all – Corona, his defense team and supporters, the prosecution, the Senate, the Supreme Court, the Filipino people – from further pain, and keep all this from getting worse” misses the real point — that there are at least 188+1 people responsible for mounting what was originally a baseles and vindictive initiative and allowing what had become a farce to progress as far as it did. Following the same template used in those maritime tragedies the Philippines is also renowned for, La Viña only addresses the after-the-fact of a fiasco that was, in essence, a misguided and preventable national disaster.

[Photo of Dean Tony La Viña courtesy IISD Reporting Services.]

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Post Author: benign0

benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.

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47 Comments on "Dean Tony La Viña’s call for Corona to resign misses the real point"

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Juan
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Ateneo? kaya pa din di ummuulad ang ating bansa, karamihan nang leader natin ay mula dun. Erap, NoyNoy, Mike Arroyo to name a few…

BenK
Editor

This is “blame the victim” syndrome dressed up in pseudo-academic language. I hope that describing him as a “thought leader” is just Rappler’s typical self-indulgent hyperbole, because if he really is one of this country’s “thought leaders”, this country is in big trouble.

Hugh
Guest

Thought leader? If he falls for the idea that “small ladies” and “papers left on my gate/desk” are reliable sources of evidence, then he can speak for his own thoughts, and screw his academic background.

Jerry Ocampo
Guest

Dean La Vina and Rappler deserve each other and the perdition that will overwhelm them when this regime fall.

Der Fuhrer
Guest

Thank you Benign0 for revealing the truth! This article should be required reading for the yellow pharisees, the great leader and his bow well movement 188.

Christophe
Guest

Seems everyone is jumping into the bandwagon of schadenfreude. Hollow populism at its best dress.

God bless this country.

Der Fuhrer
Guest

@Nutzi cjcoronsky

Retreat hell! We don’t know the meaning of the word. I was a leader of men when you were still in your baby diapers. Try harder wannabe. Mabuhay ang demokrasya at kalayaan! Di palulupig! Di pasisiil!

nelson ongpauco
Guest

mga tuta ni corona sabi ninyo ay walang karma hindi totoo ito eh si corona pala ay diabetic 20 yrs na at na bypass pa ng dalawaang beses ngayon ano ang masasbi ninyo …ngayon nagsakit sakitan eh di natuluyan …pero duda parin ako dahil si arroyo ganyan din ang palabas ….

Hyden Toro
Guest
If you have a good education, knowledge and a little bit of common sense. You must not prostitute them, for just some political favors or some amount of cash. Especially, if you are in the academic field. Most of the documents presented were false: 45 properties, that dwindled to 7 or 5… 82 Bank Accounts, that reduced to 5. Witnesses caught lying in their testimonies. How did this idiot, who calls himself a “Dean”, became a “Dean”. And he thinks, we are as non-thinking YellowTards, as he is…I’m just tired of this Noynoy Aquino show. While our country is declining… Read more »
scarletpro
Guest

translation- wala akong ebidensya against CJ so i am going to resort to personal attacks

Der Fuhrer
Guest

The sleeping president is very much like the monster Nazi great leader as he continues to conduct a hate-think campaign against CJ Corona…

http://www.opinion.manilastandardtoday.com/2012/05/25/season-of-hatred/

nelson ongpauco
Guest

;pag nag cocomment ako sa blog ni raissa ang sabi nila ay maka arroyo daw ako pag nag cocomment ako dito ang sabi ninyo ay maka pinoy ako wala naba kayong masasabi kundi maka pinoy ..ang ipaliwanag ninyo ay bakit tatakas si corona ay nag sakit sakitan kung tunay ang sakit ito ang tinatawag na karma gaya ni arroyo ngayon untiunting pinahihirapan sa dami ng namatay sa magidanao at mga jornalis na pinadukot ..tingnan tinyo si cory etme na pinahirapan din bago bumigay kayo mga chihuahua ay unti unti din pahihirapan …