Impeachment Basis is ‘Ice, Ice, Baby!’

In 1992, I still had plenty of hair, was just fresh out of high school and I was in my first year of college. Back then I also held a job as a car wash and gas station attendant. If I remember it correctly, I was merely making around 7 dollars per hour and my bank account barely had 500 dollars in it as I wasn’t exactly a Donald Trump back then. Fast forward to the present time, I’m still not a Donald Trump but my assets have increased exponentially compared to my assets during my wild partying Vanilla Ice hair look-a-like days. Given this information, should I be branded as guilty of amassing ill-gotten wealth? To the prosecution team in the on-going impeachment trial of Philippine Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona (CJ), the answer appears to be – “Yes”.

Prosecutor Jose Justiniano presented witness Mariano Dimaantal, Chief of the Malacañang Office Records, to attest to the veracity of the CJ’s Statement of Assets, Liability and Net worth (SALn) being presented by the prosecution. The SALns being attested to are from 1992 to 2002, this is the period prior to the CJ being appointed to the Supreme Court as a member of the High Tribunal. It is interesting to note that the pertinent Article of Impeachment being deliberated upon merely charges the CJ of having violated the Constitution of failing to disclose to the public his SALn. Never mind that the period of SALn being presented is outside of the CJ’s tenure at the Supreme Court, what I find amusing is the justification of the prosecution to use the SALns being presented to “show the trend [in Corona’s wealth] over the years”. Prosecutor Justiniano, when asked to explain the relevance of the SALns outside of the period of the CJ’s tenure in the Supreme Court, said that these will be used and compared with his financial status when he worked for former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (GMA) and when he was appointed to the Supreme Court by her. This gives the impression, of course, that the increased assets of the CJ throughout the years are ill-gotten which was made possible by his close association with GMA.

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Let’s even put aside for now the fact that it has not been proven yet that the assets being pointed to were ill-gotten, let us focus for now the insinuation that the increase in assets were caused by the CJ’s association with GMA. The argument and logic being presented by the prosecution seems smacking of the logical fallacy called “Cum hoc ergo propter hoc”. The fallacy is to assert that because two events occur together, they must be causally related. It’s a fallacy because it ignores other factors that may be the cause(s) of the events. To illustrate this point, I would like to point out that the United States of America is populated by approximately 79% “whites”. In addition, the United States of America also has approximately a 400% violent crime rate. If we are to apply the logic that the prosecution seems to embrace, given that the US, a country predominantly populated by “whites”, has a high average violent crime rate, does this mean that “whiteness” causes violent crime?

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? The main charge is the failure of the CJ to publicly disclose his SALn and that he is suspected to have amassed ill-gotten wealth which the prosecution said they intend to prove by showing the trend of the CJ’s increasing assets from his pre-Supreme Court years to his Supreme Court tenure. How could it be possible to correctly allege to have amassed “ill-gotten” wealth because of his positions at the Supreme Court from 2002 up to the present when the complainants never had access to the CJ’s SALns for that period?

From the prosecution’s line of attack, I see that contrary to their claim that they hold smoking gun evidences, their case seems more like cold as ice. I really commend CJ Corona for keeping his cool while he gets vilified with these half-baked allegations. He “keeps his composure when it’s time to get loose; magnetized by the mic when he kicks his juice. If there was a problem, yo he’ll solve it, check out the hook while his DJ revolves it, Ice Ice Baby!”

16 Replies to “Impeachment Basis is ‘Ice, Ice, Baby!’”

    1. Which it will turn into a circus and the only attempt to get both PGMA and her former allies still operating in today’s Philippine law is by appeal to the audience.

      Its quite honestly disgusting. People may hate the woman and all the baseless cronyism she is accused of but goddamn the prosecution are certainly looking like monkeys if the only thing they have is collective hearsay and suspicion.

    2. They do need an excuse to prosecute Corona even if such evidence is baseless. Reminds me of the moral of Aesop’s story The Wolf and the Lamb, “The tyrant will always find a pretext for his tyranny, and it is useless for the innocent to try by reasoning to get justice, when the oppressor intends to be unjust.” While Corona might not be as innocent as a lamb, you have to admit that Pnoy has been finding pretexts to prosecute Corona.

      On the positive side, if such allegations are nothing more than hearsay, then this whole thing is not a process of justice, but injustice.

  1. It will be revealed sometime in the future that Corona is actually a successful dealer of Herbalife products. Throw in Amway for good measure. Mrs. Corona is a super sipag Avon Lady.

    That’ll explain whatever unexplained wealth they may have.

  2. If they want to prove that CJ corona stole money and used it to increase their assets, they need to look at more than just the SALNs, which are just balance sheets of government officials, they need to look at the whole accounting system, the debits and the credits. They need to hire a CPA firm independent of both government bodies to audit the Supreme Court and Chief Justice Corona in order to prove any types of Embezzlement, Fraud, or Misappropriation of government assets. Increased in assets may be caused by an increase in the fair market value of corona’s investments. They have to be able to prove that the funds came from the government. I’m dumbfounded that no one in congress have thought about an actual audit by public accountants in order to prove his guilt.

    1. They never studied finance to know TVM or Time Value of Money. They need a financial expert look over these financial documents.

  3. I believe this is the attitude of most anti-Glorianists and anti-Coronians. And perhaps many of the hate-mongers. Just because someone is suspected of a crime, they should be jailed. Obviously, the justice system is not like that, and it is dangerous if it would be like that.

    But sadly, this is the attitude of many Filipinos. Suspicion is enough reason to jail someone. A bad attitude.

  4. One exaggerated fear that I admit I have is that the administration… I mean, the regime… will say anyone who’s rich is corrupt. Even if the rich guy is in the private sector and isn’t corrupt at all.

  5. In the New Testament of the Christian Bible. The crowd of Jewish prosecutors, brought a woman caught in Adultery, to Jesus Christ. The Jewish prosecutors demanded that the woman , be stoned; according to the Law of Moses. So they asked Jesus Christ, to approve the Stoning of the adulterous woman.
    Jesus Christ wrote on the ground…the crowd becoming restless, in their demand…So, he picked up a stone and said: “Who among you without Sin, will cast the First Stone.”…the Jewish prosecutors, convicted of their own consciences, silently left the woman, begining from the oldest among them…
    It seems the Scenario is repeated today , in the Corona Trial…the ancient Biblical scenario paralleling in our digital times? How ironic…

    1. Nasa, Register of Deeds office si Vincenzo Arellano. He is busy fabricating : Duplicated and Fake Titles; False Tax Declarations; and False Deed of Sales of properties.
      He is busy fabricating Land Titles of Corona; on Parking Lots, cemeteries, and mountains…to be presented in the impeachment proceedings…
      Ginawa ng mga Aquino at Cojuangco yun sa ari nilang Hacienda Luisita…see the huge land they swindled?

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