Corona impeachment: railroaded at the start by House now rushed towards the end by Senate

On the first day back from the six-week break, Senator Judges in the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona couldn’t emphasize enough that they want to finish the trial as soon as possible. Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile even said the trial should not go beyond May 31. Another Senator, Miriam Santiago also quoted the Rules of Court and current jurisprudence handbook to stress that the Senate has the power and authority to order the parties to finish the trial on or before June 7. That sounds like a plan. It’s all well and good for everybody else except of course for the defendant, Chief Justice Corona.

Jinggoy: suddenly impatient and arrogant

Still, another Senator, Jinggoy Estrada set the irritated tone at the end of the trial by insisting that the defense is just wasting the court’s time with what he thinks are irrelevant and immaterial presentations. What the Senator wanted was for the Chief Justice to come to court and answer the allegations himself. His rationale is that if he was not hiding anything, he should be able to stand and answer the allegations against him. He was just short of saying that he had already made up his mind about the whole thing and doesn’t need or want to hear the defense side anymore. All he seems to want is the circus-like excitement that can come with having Corona in the hot seat. Most of the viewing public would want that I’m sure.

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The senators and some of the prosecutors are missing the point. It seems like the real meaning of due process is completely lost to them. The defense had lined up witnesses to respond to the allegations of impropriety in some of the transactions in the purchase of some of Corona’s properties. Yes, some of the details explaining how and why perceived irregularities occurred can be daunting and meticulous. In responding to accusations that the the Bonifacio Ridge condo unit was not included in Corona’s SALN in 2006 for example, the defense had to go through the tedious process of consulting the several witnesses and obtaining the documentation that could support the fact that there was a delay in the delivery of the unit as it had to undergo repairs. In the end, the defense finally managed to convince the senate court along with the prosecutors, albeit reluctantly, to agree that there was a valid reason why the said condo unit was only included in Corona’s 2010 SALN.

It was a good outcome to the long process but it also meant that some of the other witnesses lined up who were meant to further back up Corona’s defense were not needed anymore. The defense team could not have predicted this beforehand but they were otherwise prepared to call on the witnesses had the court not been satisfied or if neither side had come to an agreement. In other words, in dismissing some of the witnesses, the senators did not have to act so arrogantly. Their testimonies are relevant and material to the allegations if the court needed more proof. Unfortunately, because some of the senators are in a hurry to finish off the trial, they come across as very dismissive and very impatient. This is causing some people to think that the senate court is not applying the same liberality they applied to the presentation of the prosecution earlier.

What ever happened to the spirit of transparency? At the beginning of the impeachment trial, the senators were all adamant that they want evidence to be presented so as to avoid a repeat of the unopened “envelope” during the impeachment of former President and convicted plunderer, Joseph “Erap” Estrada. It almost got them to the point of violating the foreign currency secrecy law and almost made them defy the temporary restraining order issued by the Supreme Court against the divulging of Corona’s alleged dollar accounts. But now the senators seems hell bent on dismissing witnesses and evidence that the defense wants to present. Some of the senators keep asking who and what else are the defense going to present because they want to know if they are still relevant. The problem is, Senator Enrile doesn’t even give the defense enough time to explain. He looked very annoyed at what he thought was a wasted day.

What looked too inconsistent was the fact that the court allowed the prosecution to waste the court’s time during their cross-examination of former Mayor Lito Atienza. The prosecution’s futile attempt to show any irregularity in the sale of the BGEI property to the City of Manila made the whole exercise utterly pointless and, as Senator Santiago said, “irrelevant” to the impeachment trial. They also wasted time trying to convince the court that Secretary Leila De Lima’s testimony for the defense is not needed anymore even after the court had already issued the subpoena.

Senators like Jinggoy Estrada were very cavalier about asking Corona to testify — as if Corona’s own words would be enough to satisfy them. Of course it won’t be. Corona’s words still need to be corroborated by other witnesses and evidence. It was very irresponsible of the Senators like Estrada to issue a challenge for Corona to appear in court to prove he wasn’t hiding anything. He should be conscious enough to realize that his statements can influence the public’s opinion. A little subtlety and tact can help this situation from getting out of hand. Senator Judges should keep their opinions to themselves until the presentation from both sides are done. If the Senators want to avoid clogging up the court with useless details, they need to sit down, shut-up and listen. They also need to tell the prosecutors to quit asking pointless and irrelevant questions too.

Indeed, in rushing the proceedings, the senators are just thinking about their own schedule and ignoring the fact that any trial should finish when all parties are satisfied, including the defendant. A man’s career and reputation hangs in the balance but the senators are more worried about their break in June. It’s too bad that Corona is becoming a victim of that all too familiar ningas kugon. In English, it simply means not finishing what they started. The reality is, it was the House of Representatives who approved this impeachment trial but they don’t seem to have the patience to see it through by the book until the end.

50 Replies to “Corona impeachment: railroaded at the start by House now rushed towards the end by Senate”

  1. exactly my sentiments Ilda. that is why i tweeted yesterday that the impeachment court seem to be in a hurry to convict the CJ. I feel that JPE has already made up his mind. Conviction is in the offing, God forbid.

    1. regardless of what Corona will say, they will convict him…sadly…because Noynoy made sure they will…

  2. I sympathize with the Defense Panel.

    The prosecutors had their time in bumbling and fumbling during their side’s presentation, and now the defense cannot even be accorded due process and freedom to present what they believe is essential to their client’s defense. And this is so that the Legislative work can continue. Who on Earth filed a faulty case to begin with?

    I understand the sentiments of Lead Defense Justice Cuevas after Estrada’s supposedly (forceful) suggestion about CJ Corona having to appear, and it irked me that SP Enrile acted the way he did.

  3. I agree with every word of this article!! The fix is in Enriles charade has been set out for everyone to see! Enrile has been bought out!! This would have been declared a mis trial in any US Court long ago!! ABNOY, the whole world is watching!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. You talk about Corona defending himself in court on top of the gargantuan piles of allegations against him and yet convicted Enrile already. What freaking, conflicting, righteously indignant creature is a Bill Steffen?

        1. After further researching maybe I should reserve judgement of Enrile! Maybe! Maybe not! And Mr Crude don’t be insulted cause I am just trying to be like you! Everything you said about me also fits you!! And be advised I am not gonna deny what you said!

    2. who are you bill steffen are you pilipno did you live in the philippines have you been in the poor neigborhood in the philippines ,,before you comment about philippines go and stay in the squatter area in the province to know what going on in the philippines ..

      1. Yeah Nelson, I live here and I see it EVERY DAY!! Why don’t you, instead of just wanting to belittle a Foreigner try to make some changes so folks don’t have to live that way!! Since I have been here I have found out that you are kind of a racist country!! Seems most of you don’t even like yourselves

  4. Sa simula pa lang naman waste of time and waste of pinoy taxes ang ginawa nila. Dapat ginawa nila per article ang labanan then decision kagad before the next article, para alam natin kung need pang ipagpatuloy yung ibang article kung walang bearing. Jinggoy yesterday only showed his immaturity being a senator.

    1. noong kinokontra ni estrada at enrile ang prosekutor wala kayong reklamo wala kayong sinasabi laban sa kanila lahat na ibedensya ng ay inuobjekan ng depensa ay pinag bibigyan sila ngayon gusto na ng senator judge na malaman ang totoo para madali na ang kaso tigil na ang paligoyligoy na witness dahil nakahalata na sila sa palusot ni cuevas dahil kaibigan niya si enrile at miriam at joker .ang kailangan natin ay malaman nag katotohanan lalo na ang nayari sa bgei kung papaano napapunta sa mga corona ang kompanya dahil malakas si corona sa mga judge noon at mga politiko ganyan lang talaga minsan nasa itaas ka bigla kang nasa ibaba.dahil sa kasalanan naginawa niya pababa na sila ..

  5. i totally agree with you, ilda, and the sentiments of the readers here. the court is being unfair to the defendant. the persecutors presented many irrelevant witnesses themselves, and the senator-judges raised a lot of irrelevant issues during their so-called 2-minute “clarificatory” questioning. Naturally, the defense is forced to address those issues.

    i personally don’t see any need for cj to testify because the persecutors were unable to prove anything. i agree that what the persecutors and senators want the “circus-like excitement” that will ensue when the cj appears in court. because now that it is the defense’s turn, it’s true what teddyboy tweeted that the problem with the truth is that it’s facts are boring.

    i hope its not true that the posturings of some senators are not to be fair, but actually to raise their price. i hope this is wrong and that we can still rely on a few good men (and women) to be among them. i really want to restore my faith in the independence of the senate. i hope this is not wishful thinking.

    i am disappointed but i am preparing for the worst. i can only be proud of the way corona and his defense stood up to them. guilty or not, their conviction is inspiring.

    more power to you ilda, and grp.

    1. i hope its not true that the posturings of some senators are not to be fair, but actually to raise their price. i hope this is wrong and that we can still rely on a few good men (and women) to be among them

      They are so few and their voices are getting drown out by the noise anti-Corona groups are making with the help of the media. The noise is enough to make you feel sick.


      1. in light of yesterday’s developments, i can only clap as atty. roy laid the conditions of cj before testifying. this early, harvey keh and his ilk have begun making denials. as the feisty lawyer said, libel now becomes perjury.

        seeing keh, hontiveros, et al squirming in their seats trying to protect their “sources” will certainly be worth sitting through this circus. i wish they included raissa robles among those to be subpoenaed as well. oh well, as long as they promise to bring back de lima.

        if cj will go down, he might as well bring the rest of them with him.

      2. ako ay hindi laban kay corona hindi rin ako maka pinoy ang gusto ko lang malaman ay ang totoo kayo ang magmulat ng mata sino ba ang matinong pilitiko sa pinas at military at pulis ang mga mayaman na ganid sa pera hindi ko alam kung para sa katotohanan kayo o sa mga magnanakaw na politiko sa gobyerno matigil na kayo ang pagusapan natin ay kung paano mababago ang buhay sa pinas dahil parepareho lang sila na nagpapayaman sa pera ng taong bayan huwag tayong magbingebingehan at magbulagbulagan yung kano ano yan anak ng pinay na japayuki ..

        1. If you ask me, I am for the truth. But not for a so-called ‘truth’ that will make me feel better.

  6. I have read a lot of articles in Get Real Philippines but I always anticipate those from Ilda. My reading, writing and compression skills improved because of this website. Kudos to Ilda and the GRP team 🙂

  7. well, the circus is getting more interesting. the chief justice is finally, going out in a blaze of glory, guns firing until to the very end, with his declaration of appearing at the impeachment court to dispute, of all issues, the 10 million US dollars that he allegedly own.

    1. Yes, a lot of people would certainly benefit from Corona’s appearance in court – the street vendors, t-shirt printers and especially the media networks. Not to mention, the pagpag eaters will have more food to get from the garbage bins.

      The senate will be a happening place, definitely.

  8. Good to know I was not alone whoe sensed something from yesterday’s proceedings.

    If the senator judges did not want to clutter the trial with irrelevant issues, then they should have not allowed the prosecutors to do it to start with. They might be forgetting that the defense is only answering point by point all the accusations and insinuations, whether relevant or irrelevant, made by the prosecutors.

    The other party was given enough leeway, time and liberty even to prove their case. In the name of fairness, why not do the same for the defense? Overtime of up to 10PM is already not fair, good they are foregoing that.

    1. Enrile wasn’t being realistic when he set his deadline. He should know that anything can happen during the trial. Some witnesses may not be available on the days they are being called, for example. In the last season, the bank manager of BPI even gave birth. Now De Lima is stalling and is saying she won’t be available until such date. It’s quite unfair when some Senators and prosecutors insist that the defense team is just purposely delaying things.

    2. ano ba ang sinasabi mong leeway na ibinigay sa prosekutor daba maraming ebidensya na inobjekan ni cuevas at marami rin na na witness ang depense na pag tinanong ay ang sagot ay hindi raw alam pati si attienza wala ring masagot sa tanong hindi ba waste lang ang mga witness ng depensa bakit hindi pewedeng tangapina o maging witness ang madre at ang asawa ni corona ngayon na nabulgar na ang nangyari sa bgei siguro naman hindi na sila kakampihan ng mga judge kung maykosentia ang mga judge lalagyan kaya sila ni corona gaya ng pagtanggap nila sa mayayaman na may kaso.

  9. It seems that the five week break did some miracles in the thinking of the senators. Whereas before they at least made the motions of being seen as impartial, now they have no qualms in making their allegiances known. Sad.

  10. Ilda: Item 5 in the PREFATORY STATEMENT of CJ Corona’s Answer to the Impeachment Complaints asserts that:

    “many circumstances and events dating back to the election of President Aquino support the conclusion that it was he who … ordered the filing of impeachment charges to remove Chief Justice Corona.”

    And Item 8 of the same Statement stresses in no uncertain terms that the impeachment trial–

    “followed on the heels of the promulgation of the decision in Hacienda Luisita Incorporated v. Presidential Agrarian Reform Council, et al., where the Supreme Court ordered the distribution of the lands of the Hacienda owned by President Aquino’s family, to the farmer beneficiaries.”

    As can be gleaned from his Answer to the Impeachment Complaints cited, it is clear that CJ Corona has already pinpointed President Aquino himself, alone and no other, as the primary instigator and the principal accuser in his impeachment trial.

    Hence, within the week, “the accused,” CJ Corona, should avail of his “right to be heard by himself” and simultaneously, as a condition-precedent, invoke his right “to secure the attendance” by “compulsory process”–as enshrined in Sec. 14 (2), Article III (Bill of Rights)–of “the accuser,” President Aquino.

    This way, “the accused,” CJ Corona, would be afforded the opportunity to personally confront the primary instigator and principal accuser, President Aquino, face-to-face, one-on-one, and to cross-examine him regarding the Hacienda Luisita connection cited above in his Prefatory Statement.

    Most of all, this will provide CJ Corona the opportunity to personally deny his alleged $10 million Dollar “hidden wealth.”

    1. Hence, within the week, “the accused,” CJ Corona, should avail of his “right to be heard by himself” and simultaneously, as a condition-precedent, invoke his right “to secure the attendance” by “compulsory process”–as enshrined in Sec. 14 (2), Article III (Bill of Rights)–of “the accuser,” President Aquino.

      That is a good point. Since PNoy cannot stop himself from commenting about the trial too, he should volunteer to be at the witness stand. He seems to know a lot of things. Maybe he can shed some light into the phantom sources supplying the documents allegedly pertaining to Corona’s bank accounts.

      1. tama invoke his right hindi ba ninyo naaala ang sabi ni estrada ipatawag paramalanan na ang totoo kung wala sya kasalanan kaya paghindi niya sinagot ang tanong sa kanya ng senator judge de guilty na sya hindi na usapan nag batas dito dahil parepareho naman sila hindi sumusunod sa batas dahil ang batas ay para lang sa mahihirap hindisa mga mayayaman na kriminal at magnanakaw.

    1. Is it just me or the blog was too long to read? (referring to I tried to read atleast 2-3 pages but the writer had so many citations and quotes. Atleast he can summarize his points, it is easier if he got to his main agenda/message and just cited sample phrases or sentences from the constitution or city ordinance of Manila (if a reader wants to be enlighten, he/she will be the one to further research on such tedious bills).

      1. tama anghaba ng bolahan hindi deretsohan maraming palabok .hindi korin binabasa deretso ako agad sa comment at pag puro palabok din ang comment ay hindi ko rin binabasa sayang lang ang oras .

    2. Any evidence or allegations that hasn’t been introduced or discussed in court is pure speculation and hearsay. And yes, the article is too biased against Corona.

      1. napansin ko ay maka korona kapala dahil puro laban sa prosekution ang mga sagot mo magkano ang bayad sa iyo ni arroyo marunong kabang makaintindi ng tama at mali may comment ako noon kay pinoy dahil komonista sila ng tatay niya kaya nasa maynila na ang mga komunista at mga muslim na noong panahon ni marcos ay nasabundok at natatago ngayon ano na ang nayayari eto bomba dito bomba doon.

  11. Noynoy Aquino and the Cojuangcos still want to hold their Hacienda Luisita. We’re tired of all this ShowBiz impeachment shows. We’re tired of the YellowTard Prosecutors. We’re tired to those stupid Senators, who want to hug the limelight…for their own plans for re-elections…or for higher offices. It would be good, if they just do their jobs, and improve the economy. So that, we will not be eating “Pagpag” foods anymore…or dwell in shanty houses. To be covered up, when foreign visitors come visiting our country.

    1. ang buhay ng mga pinoy ay hindi magbabago habang ang mga mayayaman ay lalong napapayaman sa tulong ng mga politiko at judge na tumatangap ng lagay walang malaking pagbabago ang mga napartihan ng lupa dahil magkano lang ang kita ng mga magsasaka kung stock naman ay maliit din ang kikitain papaano mo mapapaliwanag na gaganda ang buhay ng mga taGA tarlac na may lupa na silang mapapasa kanila kung hindi nila bubungkalin ang lupa naloko lang sila ng mga organiser hindi ata sinabi sa kanila na babayaran nila ito sa gobyerno at sa organiser nila .pasalamat sila dahil ginapang ito ni corona sa mga judge pero hindi pa ito tapos corona bida ka sa mga tiga tarlak at may pakawaykaway kapa ng nasa bagyo noong hiring sa bagyo marami ang hindi natuwa sa iyo corona

  12. Ilda,

    I don’t really know what to make of the senate’s actions ever since the resumption of the hearings. My educated guess was that it’s never been about “hearing straight from the horse’s mouth”, but about “running off at the mouth” by the ass-kissers in order to humiliate the CJ.

    The defense did counter that CJ would appear in court only if the people who filed the complaint at the Ombudsman’s office did too, right? Then again, there’s a subtle difference between “appearance” and “testimony” that many of the people involved with the trial may miss.

    1. It’s unfortunate that only a handful of people appreciate the brilliance of the defense team. Let’s hope Corona will keep his cool once on the witness stand. I’m sure some Senators and prosecutors will use ad hominem to break him.

    2. maypinagaralan kapala pero inuuna mo ang paniwala na hindi totoo maka corona ka at tuta kaba ni arroyo dahil kayo lang na mga tuta ang hindi naniniwala sa katotohanan dapat neutral ka lang dahil wala kang mapapala sa pagside sa mga politiko mga tangang tao lang ang naniniwa sa kanila

      1. Your use of the word “tuta” and “arroyo” reminds me of a certain guy named Vincenzo. Maybe you know him too.

  13. Last Monday, JPE said that any issue surrounding the validity of sale of the land to the City Government of Manila is not relevant to the impeachment. Yesterday, the prosecution was very much interested to highlight the seeming irregularities attendant to the auction.

    I agree that there were many questions left unanswered regarding that auction sale. However, the Senate should not be so much interested on that because it is not a trial court. The important thing they should be looking at was the fact that the shares are owned by Carla which is why CJ and Mrs. Corona did not have to declare them in their respective SALNs.

    1. So true. It’s quite disturbing that Enrile allowed the cross-examination to go on and on even though he knew it was irrelevant. He justified it by saying “we are all intelligent here”. If they were really intelligent, there wouldn’t be an impeachment trial in the first place.

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