Well it looks like much of the rest of the proceedings during the trial of impeached Chief Justice, Renato Corona will be spent on clarifying the rules of the court. However long it would take to finish the trial – it could be weeks or months – the presiding officer, Senator Juan Ponce Enrile will have to keep reminding the prosecution and some Senator Judges that “the law must be respected.” It is an increasingly excruciating experience to watch the trial as it takes place at glacial speed just because the prosecution keep insisting on presenting evidence that is either fake; had been illegally obtained; or had been tampered with.
It was so unbelievable that lead prosecutor Congressman Niel Tupas, Jr, a legislator, had to be told that “the source (that) was anonymous should have given the prosecution the caution to scrutinize the document before they presented it to this court as a basis for compulsory process.” This was in reference to the copies of Chief Justice Corona’s alleged dollar account, which according to another prosecutor, Representative Robert Umali, was given to him by an anonymous “small lady” on his way out of the building.
Senator Enrile is increasingly getting annoyed at Congressman Tupas because as the presiding officer, he “assumes full responsibility for issuing a subpoena” based on the “fake” document. Frankly, the validity of the documents should have been checked before the subpoena was given. The quick approval is obviously causing some problems now.
What’s bizarre is that on the day that the documents were declared fake, the prosecution were insisting that they “never said the bank documents were authentic or genuine but ‘felt it warrants attention of this impeachment court’.” It’s either they cannot get their statements right or they do not know how to handle the “fake” documents since they are now stuck with them. But perhaps they felt compelled to deny they are “fake” after Malacañang spokesman, Edwin Lacierda said that they are indeed, authentic. In a press statement, he said, “they do exist”¦ those account numbers. And I think that has been proven right by the PSBank president. What’s very important here is that the account numbers were accurate.” Why a member of Malacañang is making statements as to the authenticity of the evidence in the trial is everybody’s question because they really should not be meddling in the case.
Worst of all, some Senator Judges are becoming blatant in their attempts to come to the aid of the prosecution; this, despite a motion by the defense asking some Senator Judges to inhibit themselves from the case. It is actually mind-boggling why they would do such as thing considering that the prosecution actually put them in a difficult position when they presented “spurious” copies of Chief Justice Corona’s bank accounts just to convince the Senator Judges to approve a subpoena to get the same bank documents they supposedly already possessed. If you are not following, I can’t blame you. The members of the impeachment court are confused as well.
It is such a disgrace that despite the palpable violations by the prosecution, no judge has so far suggested that they be put in contempt of court. In fact, a lot of people are already calling for the case against the Chief Justice to be junked based on the number of violations by the prosecution and the prejudice of some of the judges. However, the prosecution is just getting a slap on the wrist for delaying and quite possibly bungling the case.
I don’t know if it’s arrogance or simply ignorance of the law, but some Senator Judges are also the cause of the delay in the proceedings. Senator Peter Cayetano wasted the court’s time when again, he tried to make PSBank witness inadvertently reveal Corona’s alleged dollar account. The Senator exhibited some signs that he still can’t get over the fact that majority of his fellow judges voted to uphold the Supreme Court’s Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) on the opening of the alleged dollar accounts. He had another go at telling the PSBank executive that during former President Joseph “Erap” Estrada’s impeachment trial, the bank manager at Equitable Bank disclosed the details of Erap’s bank account even without a subpoena.
But Senator Cayetano’s efforts at trying to convince the PSBank president Pascual Garcia that it was okay for him to reveal the contents of Chief Justice Corona’s alleged dollar account was futile after defense leader Serafin Cuevas corrected him by saying that what happened then simply cannot be applied in this case because the Chief Justice is not being tried for plunder. Senator Cayetano’s actions though say a lot about his leanings. It is a sure sign that there are Senators who are allied with the instigator of the Chief Justice’ impeachment, President Noynoy Aquino (PNoy).
The Chief Executive even claims that there is enough evidence to convict the Chief Justice. Here’s what he has to say:
“Doon pa lang sa na-unearth na peso accounts, malaki na ang diperensya na mukhang napatunayan na iyung kaso,”
That is quite a remarkable statement from PNoy considering the defense hasn’t even presented their rebuttal. It looks like he is not interested to hear how the defense is going to explain the allegations.
Meanwhile, Senator Drilon was visibly upset that the documents that came to be in the possession of the prosecutors are said to be falsified documents. The over enthusiastic Senator didn’t want to stop grilling the witness, Annabelle Tiongson from PSBank. He justified it by claiming that it was an effort to establish the credibility of the witness. But why does he think the witness is not credible? Between the prosecution and the PSBank executives, why is Senator Drilon more inclined to believe that the prosecution is telling the truth and that the witness is lying? He really is good at multi-tasking, acting as a prosecutor and judge during the trial at the same time.
Still there are some sensible judges who remind the rest that the discussions are veering away from the actual case. Senator Chiz Escudero sent a reminder to the prosecution that the PSBank officers are their witnesses and for prosecution to “bear in mind that this is a matter of the impeachment court but not on the case anymore” — meaning that the PSBank’s testimonies may not be part of the evidence of the articles of impeachment after all. Nevertheless, too much time has been wasted just toing and froing on the issue. I can now understand why Senator Miriam Santiago once said that she is “surrounded by idiots”.
We can only hope that there would be more Senator Judges who can think rationally and see this impeachment trial as nothing more than an attempt by the Chief Executive to take control of the judiciary to complete his bid at becoming a dictator as it seems like he already has the numbers to control the other branches of government.
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