Betrayal or Disappointment of Public Trust?

According to the Philippine Constitution, impeachable public officers such as the President, the Vice President, Members of the Supreme Court, Members of Constitutional Commissions, and the Ombudsman may be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of:

1. Culpable violation of the Constitution
2. Treason
3. Bribery
4. Graft and corruption
5. Other high crimes
6. Betrayal of public trust

As far as the recently concluded prosecution presentation of evidence for Article 2 or the impeachment of Chief Justice (CJ) Corona is concerned, the prosecution is basing its case of the charges of Culpable Violation of the Constitution and Betrayal of Public trust. Article 2 of the impeachment charge states that the CJ failed to disclose his Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Networth (SALn) as prescribed by Section 17 of Article 11 of the Constitution which states:

“A public officer or employee shall, upon assumption of office and as often thereafter as may be required by law, submit a declaration under oath of his assets, liabilities, and net worth. In the case of the President, the Vice-President, the Members of the Cabinet, the Congress, the Supreme Court, the Constitutional Commissions and other constitutional offices, and officers of the armed forces with general or flag rank, the declaration shall be disclosed to the public in the manner provided by law.”

The fact that the SC Clerk of Court has produced the CJ’s SALn has effectively shattered the prosecution’s charge that the CJ did not file his SALn so the prosecution’s focus has shifted to the qualifier “shall be disclosed to the public in the manner provided by law”. However, this route was also obliterated by the SC’s 1989 resolution regarding the limitations on the release of the SALns of the Members of the SC. The resolution exempts the court from the legal requirement for all public officials to file their respective SALns and make these available to the public. The SALns may still be accessed by the public but under the permission of the court. This resolution was established to prevent fishing expeditions in an effort to harass and influence the decisions of the justices and this resolution has been reaffirmed by a succession of Chief Justices after CJ Narvasa. It is therefore clear that CJ Corona did in fact file his SALn and the issue of the access to his SALn was not due to his doing but a policy within the SC.

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The failure of the prosecution to pin the CJ on those two grounds takes the issue now to the “truthfulness” of the CJ’s declarations in his SALn. The prosecution successfully obtained permission from the Senate tribunal the issuance of subpoenas for the CJ’s bank accounts. Never mind that the subpoenas would stifle the Bank Secrecy Law and never mind that the request for the subpoenas emanated from a mere suspicion and not ultimate facts when they drafted the articles of impeachment, out of “liberality” and “public interest”, the Senate tribunal relented. (It is worth noting that the charge was from a mere suspicion and not ultimate facts because the prosecution never had access to the SALn prior to the day the Clerk of Court presented the CJ’s SALn in the impeachment trial) When the bank accounts were opened, sure enough, the prosecution noted discrepancies between the bank accounts and the CJ’s SALn.

As of this writing, the prosecution has already admitted that most of the grounds of impeachment against the CJ are not applicable. Even if it is granted that the CJ may have committed perjury, according to the prosecution panel themselves, perjury is not considered as a “High Crime”. So given the admission, the prosecution took the route for “Culpable Violation of the Constitution” and “Betrayal of Public Trust” and this route seems to be anchored on the apparent dishonesty of the CJ’s declaration in his SALn. They claim that the declaration of the SALn is done under oath and is not merely a ministerial act. Hence, the discrepancy in the SALn versus the CJ’s bank accounts is a manifestation of Constitutional violation and public trust betrayal as “Public office is a public trust”, according to Section 1 of Article 11 of the Constitution.

From how the scenario appears, it does seem to put the CJ on a bind. However, before we jump into conclusions it is important to note that the provisions of law actually allow public officers to correct discrepancies in the SALns. Under Republic Act 6713, Section 10a:

“The designated Committees of both Houses of the Congress shall establish procedures for the review of statements to determine whether said statements which have been submitted on time, are complete, and are in proper form. In the event a determination is made that a statement is not so filed, the appropriate Committee shall so inform the reporting individual and direct him to take the necessary corrective action.”

So it seems that according to the provisions of law, SALNs may be corrected by public officers when the SALns are determined to be defective. It would be a different case if the discrepancy in the CJ’s SALn was previously pointed out and if he was previously instructed to make the necessary corrective action and he refused to do so. However, this is the very first time such a discrepancy is pointed out so the law seems to actually provide the CJ remedy to correct any pointed discrepancies without the penalty for culpability.

Given that the impeachment ground of “Culpable Violation of the Constitution” may not be enough to be supported by the prosecution’s evidence, the stronger basis of their charge seem to be anchored in the very vague notion of “Betrayal of Public Trust”. But what is it exactly? What does public trust really entail?

Have you had flaky friends in your life? Have you had friends who disappointed you in a number of instances when they failed to deliver on things they promised to do for you? Let us consider this scenario”¦ suppose that Tony forgets one time to feed his friend and roommate Bobby’s dog despite promising to do so. Bobby may very well decide to move out and take his dog with him. However, it would be absurd for Bobby to automatically justify ending his friendship with Tony simply on the grounds that Tony failed to deliver on his promise to feed his dog (at one time). However, let us suppose that Tony told a group of people about details of Bobby’s secret of having experimented with an incestuous relationship with his mother, despite having promised Bobby not to tell anyone, would this be a good justification for Bobby to end his friendship with Tony? The answer is “Yes”. The difference between the first scenario and the second scenario is the gravity of offense. In the first scenario, we would merely feel a sense of disappointment while in the second case we do feel a sense of betrayal.

In the first scenario, Tony could buy Bobby a six pack and a Super Supreme pizza to compensate or make up for breaking his promise to feed Bobby’s dog. In the second case, what good would a six pack and a Super Supreme pizza do to compensate for telling others about Bobby’s dark secret? What possible use would those bring in repairing their friendship? If trust has been breached by betrayal, not only will it be almost impossible to be remedied, the offer of remedy would most likely not do anything to repair the broken trust.

So now given this argument, let us go back to Republic Act 6713. Given the fact that the provision of law even allows public officers to remedy a discrepancy in their SALn, doesn’t this suggest that the gravity of the offense is more in line with disappointment rather than betrayal?

Is disappointing the public trust an impeachable offense? If so, then almost all our public officials ought to be impeached. Why not start with the one-track minded vindictive lazy jaundiced man sitting on a throne inside the Palace by the stinking river?

57 Replies to “Betrayal or Disappointment of Public Trust?”

  1. I think people should understand that impeachment is more an anti-incompetence measure rather than anti-corruption. I think removal of a corrupt official is a lousy way to address corruption, since they can be replaced by other corrupt officials. Regulations and measures that help direct the behavior of a person may be more effective.

    1. Corona at Gloria destroyed the Philippine government. Corona, nagsumbong sa sarili nyang homecourt kht cnabi na ni Enrile na bwal makielam ang outsider. At itong si Gloria for making a Gloria high court, karamihan sa 8 na bumoto mga appointee nya, ayan tuloy the country is facing cons crisis. CORONA DESPERATE!

      1. Kung iisipin mo kasi Vincenzo, meron din dapat karapatan ang SC to tell the Senate na “teka lang, I think you are overstepping your bounds already”. Ika-nga e, who will check the checker?

        Tama nga, the impeachment court is higher than the SC, however, they are still not above the law. The SC being an interpreter of the law (more than the Senate), I think can be asked to reign in their horses from charging as it is already excessive.

        The TRO is a TRO, temporary in nature. It gives time for the respective concerned bodies to discuss it more properly instead of being rushed.

        Ang nagmamadali, laging nadadapa. Yan ang wag mo kakalimutan Vincenzo. Kaya ayan, puro tayo technicalities, nawalan ng pre-trial ayun, yung prosecution, may verified complaint, wala man lang ni-isang ebidensya na hawak. Hala, sige lang, takbo pa.

        1. I agree with you, Sphynx. Who will check the checker??? the Supreme court, considered as the highest of the land has the final autority and judgement. But, if one of the justices from the SP is on trial (this time it is the CJ) who will tell if the Supreme court is “overstepping”? Who will Judge the judges? if the Supreme Court has the final say, walang silbi ang impeachment trial. we should stop this dahil if the Senate pass a guilty vedict on Mr. Corona’s case the Supreme court may still counter it.

        2. The SC base their decision on what is written in the constitution, if there is no violation or grave abuse of power by the impeachment court and the prosecution, then you have nothing to worry about.

      2. Trabaho ni GMA na mag-appoint. Wala syang magagawa dun. Pero si abNoy, puro KKKK lang inaappoint nya, kaya hayan puro mga salot.

        Paanong desperado si Corona, eh prosekusyon ang parating pumapalpak!?…hahaha…puro iligal tuloy pamamaraan nila…hahaha…”small lady” raw…hahaha…PROSEKUSYON ang DESPERADO!—Halata naman.

        Problema tuloy nila Drilon kung paano pang lulutuin ang kaso.

        1. As a SC CHIEF JUSTICE, do we not expect him to be truthful at the very least? I’m seriously having doubts. Bebenta ba ang “oops, sorry. nagkamali ako, pwede patawad?”

          I don’t think so. He is a Chief Justice.

          I was kind of hoping that by going to this site, I’d be provided a good explanation as to why he was not being truthful to what was on his SALN.

          I guess to some extent, you are conceding to the fact that your tax goes to someone who’s not credible enough to hold such a prestigious role.

          Puro paratang, may ebidensya din ba kayo?

          I surely await the time when Corona’s defense lawyers explain the IC (or to the Filipinos) why an SC Chief Justice has not been truthful to what was on his SALN.

          Huwag daanin sa pagandahan ng pandadaot. Lahat naman tayo may utak and if given a chance, I can always come up with a good one. If we remove all that, what’s left is that I’ve not read any part of this blog that addresses the issue — the SC Chief Justice’s credibility issues. That’s just sad.

          Sana meron na next time I go here. Buksan and mga mata, mga kaibigan. Wag daanin sa galit, but the bottomline is — did he do what he was supposed to do?

        2. Before anything else, can you tell us which among the, uh, evidence presented right now makes you think Corona’s SALN is not consistent with his actual wealth?

          Also, I do hope you are holding other government to such impressive moral standards.

        3. You seem to be convinced of these, uh, amounts and their discrepancies. Why again are you waiting for the explanation of the defense? And you have already imposed upon the defense some arbitrary condition (“Huwag daanin sa pagandahan ng pandadaot.”) before you accept their explanation. So, who again is closed-minded?

      3. @Nutzi Vincenzo

        Corona at Gloria destroyed the Philippine government? How did that happen? There is no constitutional crisis. You sure need medical assistance. Corona is not desperate. EvilNoy is both desperate and despicable.

        1. Maybe he blames Gloria for paving the way of allowing PNOY into power. (maybe) at the back of his mind, he is actually against it. hehe!

      4. What makes you so sure that corona and gloria destroyed this government huh idiot troll?
        This government is destroying itself because of it’s stupidity and imcompetence.

      5. Hay naku. If the corrupt were the ones to removed other corrupt, they won’t be afraid. They’ll actually be more corrupt. Perhaps with impunity too.

      1. walang matatakot magnakaw, magiingat lang, pero may pagnanakaw pa din.

        Pero matatakot na magsabi ng opposing view/idea ang mga tao asa pwesto sa takot na baka sila ay masagasaan ng administration ni Aquino. Naiintidihan mo ba ang simpleng konsepto na ito Vincenzo?

      2. @Nutzi Vincenzo

        For the sake of transparency and true leadership… Convince your EvilNoy to reveal his SALN, bank accounts, titles to properties and corporate interests. Let him lead the way in also revealing the same from his KKKK.

      3. Nope, the real lousy one is your tito noy and the way that he is running this govenment.

        Ipasok mo sa makitid mong ulo itong katotohanan na malapit na malapit na mawala ang buong tiwala ng tao sa tito noy mo!

  2. I know what is more betrayal of public trust. When this president’s spinners are much more quick to denounce the TRO issued by the SC (re. the PSBank accounts) than their response to the horrible tragedy (again!) in Negros Or. It’s been 4 days, people have ran out of food and starving, and the heavy equipments (I wonder how many) to dig out the dead are JUST arriving in the disaster areas. I mean they don’t know that food will run out soon???!!! Why aren’t food and water delivered and ready for distribution on the 1st day. This disregard for people is appalling and makes my blood boil! Wake up, you who voted and continue to defend this moron of a president!

    1. i am from negros, specifically dumaguete. yes its true supplies is hard to transport to those area on the 1st and second day because helicopters and boats prioritize politicians rather than the supplies needed. 1st day Binay came and Pnoy came the 2nd day, considering all their staff and security.

  3. Or maybe we are just saddled with a “malas” president, because of his vindictiveness, that’s why there is no let up in natural (floods, landslides, earthquake etc) and man-made (hongkong tourist fiasco etc) disasters that have befallen this more fun country.

    1. and to divert people’s attention from the horrible reality of a showbiz, sick government, there’s the clueless (to be kind about it) grace lee and the bourne identity shooting. Sickening.

  4. Just curious, if anyone knows: Does the cutoff date for the SALN match the date where the large sum of cash was discovered, i.e. if the SALN says that the cash is Php 2.5 million at 31 December, does the bank statement show the same amount at that exact date? Just to point out that maybe the CJ did receive a large sum of cash that would reflect on his bank statement but if it was already drawn before the reporting date then it should not appear on the SALN.

    1. I actually think this is where the defense plans to go with it. Simply put, that 12 million of 2010 maybe reflecting on the following

      1) possible overseas remittances coming from abroad either as investment or as money transfer from a source of income of his children outside the Philippines
      2) used as payment in part of the arrangement to pay his obligations to condominium/properties

      Anyway, I don’t know how far down the rabbit hole the prosec and irresponsible judges would want to take us down to, but I agree with Sen. Marcos that asking for more than the balance on Dec 31 20XX is enough for purposes of Article 2. Anything over and above it should have been settled already by the caucus.

  5. I actually wanted the Senate to subpoena Kim Henares’s SALN because of her statement that any error in the SALN should not be given a chance to be corrected and that she is filing it all accurately as she has sworn under oath. Basing on the prosec’s argument, she just be given a show cause order of why she shouldn’t be cited in contempt for “lying under oath” and ordered to show proof that she did not lie, as challenged by the court.

    And if in fact she did it all accurately and properly, then it would serve as an exhibit/evidence in terms of a reference on how a SALN should properly be filed.

    I still do think however that the SALN issue is not a ground for impeachment and we are just wasting time with Article 2.

    I do not even agree with the motion of Senator Sotto of “let’s cross the bridge when we get there”. That mindset is what is actually causing the problem with the apparent bias in the line of questioning some of the senator judges (both for and against), the unclear distinction of what should be asked and what are the evidence to be expected based on what should have been a pre-trial.

    This trial doesn’t even seem to have direction and the concept of liberality is really being taken too far for my tastes. I think the people are not as gullible to simply march out into the streets if the complaint was deemed invalid even because of having no basis/no evidence and simply being just merely accusation and hearsay.

    I also do not agree in presenting Mr. Vizconde. I am sorry for his loss but anything he says in the trial will be merely him being emotional of not getting what he believes he should be getting, as such.. statements are coming from an aggrevated party of an SC decision which he does not agree with. If it came from someone else, then maybe I feel it will hold water, but not someone in Mr. Vizconde’s position wherein he may say things that only he and only 1 other person of interest may be party to (which could probably be fictitious and damaging to the respondent).

    Anyway, I maybe wish the Senate would allot time to have a closed door meeting, deliberation and discussion in caucus (hopefully with prosec and defense) on the merits of the case and prior evidence to the filing of the complaint as well as why they need to subpoena said docs if they should have had them in the first place. Allot a max of 1 week to thresh out all the issues, like if they overstepped their bounds in asking too much already from illegal sources of evidences etc. I mean seriously, we are talking about SALN, what is the point of asking of opening balance anyway by Drilon? There is no bearing for the case and they want to push it into graft and corruption which is not part of the complaint already. I mean, too much already.

    Hey, if you didn’t do your homework, you shouldn’t expect grades to be favorable to you.

  6. Noynoy Aquino has already violated all the Articles of Impeachment…including Treason. He gave money, and allowed Santuaries for the MILF, the enemies of the Republic. He released the 40 NPA Morong insurgents, bent on overthrowing the Republic…
    Noynoy Aquino should be impeached, instead of Corona…

    1. @hayden; that is also my observation. he’s been sleeping with the enemies of the republic since day 1 of his election campaign.i heard, he is also kin on offering a job to joma sison. well, perhaps he is bargaining for the previous collateral damages happened in the Hacienda Luisita…and also paying back the support he got from these groups last election.

      i also heard from the news that NPA is helping the government to hunt down Gen. Palparan and in the process seemed an insult to PNP and the Armed Forces of the Philippines..I guess the CIA will check into these developments that is why there maybe a significant presence of G.I’s in the country…my God where will we going to? Is that there is a hidden agenda in electing a straw president cloth in a clean barong of honesty swarmed by people with bad intentions? Pnoy, no doubt is a good man but these people around him including the kamag-anak inc.ABS-CBN, the KKK and his political allies are manipulating him…and he is desperate to get even with his predecessor being pressured by his kamag-anak inc. on the issue of Hacienda Luisita. Poor Pnoy, if he only heed his mother advice not to run for president i guess this good man together with joshua and bimbi are happy companions playing PSP all day…angry bird perhaps will be a happy bird with grace lee.

      1. It’s the same bad elements that Marcos faced, during the Martial Law of his regime…The Right (Oligarchs and Capitalists), using the Left (Communists, etc…); with political opportunist, on board his regime…
        Marcos was stabbed at the back, by his cronies…and overthrown…
        Cory Aquino and the Oligarchs, came into power; selling the gullible Filipinos: “DEMOKRASYA”…It was a Feudal Monopolistic Oligarchy with a variation of Theocracy…
        We all have to unite not to be taken for a ride again by these bad elements..

  7. The recent distractions of the Impeachment Trial and Mr. Aquino’s love life does not mean we should let our guard down. The dictator will try to implement his patently illegal and unconstitutional plan to occupy the Supreme Court using red and yellow people mob power. The lackluster prosecution panel,its blunders and allowing a highly defective articles of impeachment may trigger an act of desperation from the absolute dictator wannabe. Mr. Aquino should realize that the international community is looking at him with very critical eyes. No amount of damage control from his communications group can legalize an act of force against a co-equal and co-independent Supreme Court. Inciting to sedition and rebellion seems to be the path of the dictator. Beware the coming days!

  8. —So now given this argument, let us go back to Republic Act 6713. Given the fact that the provision of law even allows public officers to remedy a discrepancy in their SALn, doesn’t this suggest that the gravity of the offense is more in line with disappointment rather than betrayal?—-

    CJ can correct his SALn. He can change the 3.5M he declared to 30M basing from his bank deposits. He can also include all of his properties. Now, the question is how much is the CJ’s salary?

    1. @twoface

      let us wait the defense panel to present their evidences and also the cross examination of the witnesses presented by the prosecution. perhaps the defense panel is just waiting for their turn as they properly observe the rules of impeachment court.

      unlike the prosecution who is part of the 188 speed readers that swiftly jump on concluding the issues that made them apparently stupid and ridiculous.

      1. You’re right. Let’s wait for them to defend their client. I’m looking forward to finding out the truth.

        Your statement about swiftly jumping to conclusions — that is why they are called prosecutors. They’re not swiftly jumping to conclusions, although they can be stupid sometimes. They’re just giving their manifestation.

    2. how come a lot of people discount the fact that Corona was a private practitioner before he became CJ? With the amount of money he received back then, I’m pretty sure he has made a lot of investments which have become his other sources of his income apart from his day job now.

      1. Let’s see. 30M is quite a huge sum and that is in one bank alone. How much more does he have in his other banks? Don’t forget the 5 foreign deposit accounts. Never mind the other accounts, if you divide 30M in 12 months, he gets 2.5M per month. With that amount of money, I think I would like to become a private practitioner and a CJ.

        1. But he may have also received the Php 30 million from the following: a) profit sharing deal from his law firm, b) from a liquidated investment i.e. disposal of shares, maturities of time deposits. All I’m saying is, people can’t judge how much he’s really earning based on his current salary alone or that any amount he’s received which doesn’t agree with his monthly salary as a cj are considered ill-gotten.

      2. You’re right. Let’s not judge how much he’s really earning based on his current salary alone. Good point. I’m waiting to hear his part too regarding all of the prosecutors’ accusations.

  9. “The rights of every man are diminished when the rights of one man are threatened.” – John F. Kennedy – ‘ and the rule of law is replaced by political persecution’
    the people have seen the administration, congress and many senators for what they are – self-interested greedy hypocrites.
    the voters will decide. we dont want such lowlife any longer stealing tax payers money for their houses, mustresses etc.
    and all because of hacienda luisita. p-noy the most corrupt and hypocritical of all.
    p-noy is wek, incompetent, lazy and not very bright – the only one who thinks diferent is a naive bimbo from korea!!

  10. @der fuher

    this “ungentleman” from ilo-ilo should inhibit himself as one of the judges in this impeachment proceedings. if he has common sense, he must not be exposing his biases and prejudices, he is not fit to wear that robe anymore!!! i have no more respect for this man anymore, he is a senator of the republic not a tito frank of Pnoy…is he a relative of Dr.Ruben Garcia who favored Vasquez against Donaire?

    Sen. Drilon, please have a sense of decency and fairness. why do sit as a senator judge if you are acting like a demonic prosecutor? Shame on you, pig!

  11. senator drilon, do you understand why you wear that robe? you are a lawyer ins’t it? but, you do not understand why you are wearing that robe in this impeachment court, dapat yan muna ang maintindihan mo mo kung bakit mo isinusuot yan, mang-mang…buti pa yon barbero ko alam nya kung bakit sinusuutan nya ako ng robe kapag ako’y ginugupitan…masahol ka pa sa amo mong mongoloid.

  12. Putting away Corona, if he’s proven corrupt, and GMA, if she’s proven corrupt, will not intimidate the other corrupt in government. Instead, they’ll become braver – lalong tatapang. Because it’s likely they’re the ones engineering putting these people away to get rid of competition.

    1. If proven corrupt, they should go to jail.

      Those not intimidated should also be prosecuted and sent to jail. It’s that simple.

      Ultimately, those hearings in aid of reelection, este legislation pala should bear fruit naman sana.

  13. the more i watch the impeachment on tv, the more i get nauseated by the actions of some of the so called “senator-judges”…just a point of clarification, just a manifestation, just a point of order, etc.etc.etc…the gentleman from iloilo, the gentleman from cebu, the gentleman from pampanga (the other one), the gentleman from batangas, yikes, there’s nothing gentlemanly about these so called gentlemen at all…hiding behind those robes they can malign anybody they want for the sake of “justice”, strike fear in the witnesses heart by citing them in contempt and most of all, to say with a straight face that they have no equal as long as they are sitting as senator-judges and they can do anything they want even if it is against the law…i’d say to all of them, go jump in the lake

  14. One of the issues that have strangely been glossed over by media is how does the CJ really earn in salaries and other perks? Case in point – congressmen, according to the constitution earn only P35,000 (?) a month, but because of annual increases, they gross about P90,000. Add travel allowances, district expenses, etc., – they probably gross P500,000/month (legally). I would think that the head of the third branch of our government would legally make way more than that.

  15. Not only is the current admin destroying our institutions but also our fundamental values by giving whole new meanings to key notions such as “truth”, “rule of law”, “due process”, “democracy”, “freedom”, “the people”, and so on. Whenever you hear them use these terms, always be wary of the fact that they have perverted their original meanings to suit their own ends.

    What the yellows actually mean by them

    Whatever abNoy and supporters want you to believe

    Rule of Law
    Restrictions/limitations applicable only to others, especially enemies, but not to them

    Due Process


    Biased pro-yellow media not bound by responsibility and ethical practices

    The People
    Yellow-supporters/cult-followers, the oligarchy, their [moneyed] benefactors

  16. All I can say is that Corona had the intention of hiding his true SALN…Why was there a need for him to hide it?…..This makes him not fit to hold the position of SC Justice. This behavior is definitely unacceptable. It was right for him to be impeached.

    1. @Kennedy Feria

      It was explained during the trial that the bulk of the savings was from the proceeds of the sale of his wife’s property. They just kept it in the same account probably for convenience and to get earn more interest. It wasn’t from the taxpayer’s money in the first place so why are so you angry at him?

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