The entire Filipino nation will observe the developments in impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato at the Senate tomorrow, probably be glued on their TV sets as drama unfolds. Move over Koreanovelas. This is the reality TV, Fillipino style.
More than 1,000 journalists from mainstream media, online news, and international front have applied for accreditation for what would be the first time that a chief justice will be tried in recent Philippine history. Here’s the Impeachment Primer 2012.
Assignment of House Prosecutors
Rep. Raul Daza is the lead prosecutor in Article 1 on the partiality and subservience in cases involving the Arroyo administration for the time he was appointed as associate justice to the time of his ‘midnight appointment’ as chief justice.
Daza is assisted by Representatives Niel Tupas Jr and Neri Colmenares.
Rep. Marilyn Primicias-Agas and Rep. Elpidio Bargaza Jr are assigned to tackle Article 2 on “failure to disclose to the public his statements of assets and liabilities and net worth as required under Section 17, Article Xi of the 1987 Constitution.
Rep. Giorgidi Aggabao will be assisted by Rep. Arlene Bag-ao and Sherwin Tugma in arguing Article 3 for allegations that Corona failed to meet and observe the stringent standards under the Constitution that provided that a member of the judiciary must be a person of proven competence, integrity, probity and independence.
Rep. Arlene Bag-ao will lead the prosecution team for Article 4 on the blatant disregard of the principle of separation of powers by issuing status quo ante order against the House of Representatives in the case concerning the impeachment of then Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez. She will be assisted by Rep. Reynaldo Umali.
Rep. Braganza and Rep. Marilyn Primicias-Agabas will tackle Article 5 on wanton arbitrariness and partiality in consistently disregarding the principle of res judicata or resurrecting decided cases, and in deciding in favor of gerrymandering in the cases involving the 16 newly created cities, and the promotion of Dinagat Island into a province.
Article 6 will be tackled by Representatives Rodolfo Farinas and Sherwin Tugna. This article involves “arrogating unto himself , and to a committee he created, the authority and jurisdiction to improperly investigate an alleged erring member of the Supreme Court for the purpose of exculpating him.
Rep. Neri Colmenares and Rep. Raul Daza is tasked to handle Article 7 on “partiality in granting a temporary retraining order in favor of Mrs. Arroyo and her husband, Jose Miguel Arroyo, in order to give them an opportunity to escape prosecution and to frustrate the ends of justice …”
Article 8 — on failure and refusal to account for the Judiciary Development Fund and Special Allowance for the Judiciary collections — will be handled by Rep. Umali and Rep. Giorgidi Aggabao.
Highlights of the Trial
Day 1, January 16. The Senate body threw out the motion of the defense for a preliminary hearing, therefore, the trial proceeds without any hitches. The Senate, thru presiding officer, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile also warned the prosecution and defense panels against presenting evidence before the bar of public opinion or any venue outside the impeachment court.
Chief Justice Renato Corona and his wife, Cristina, attended the first day of the impeachment proceedings wherein his lead counsel ex-Justice Serafin Cuevas also entered a plea of not guilty for the chief magistrate.
Day 2, January 17. The impeachment court rejected the motion of the prosecution for the issuance of subpoena to CJ Corona and his entire family in relation with his alleged illegally-amassed wealth and his non-disclosure of his statement of assets, liabilities, and networth (SALN).
Enrile, upon consultation with the 22 senator-judges, acted in motu propio to postpone the presentation of evidence of the prosecution panel. Rep. Barganza admitted that they are not ready to present evidence for Article 1, but Article 2 which deals on Corona’s SALN.
Day 3, January 18. Prosecution presents first witness Supreme Court clerk of court E. Vidal who was compelled by the impeachment body to surrender the SALN of Corona. Second witness, Dimaandal, head of the Malacanang Records Office, also submits SALN of Corona from 1992.
Day 4, January 19. Registers of Deeds Randy Rutaquio of Taguig, Carlo Alcantara of Quezon City, and Sedfrey Garcia of Marikina were presented by the House prosecution panel. They brought with them the alleged documents (condo titles and transfer certificates) on the purported real properties of Corona.
Day 7- Defense files motion to inhibit vs senator-judge Franklin Drilon.
Day 8 – continuation of presentation of witnesses — real estate developers’ representatives of properties allegedly owned by Corona but not declared in his SALN.
Flight Attendants and Stewards Association of the Philippines (FASAP) president Roberto Anduiza takes the stand as the first witness on Article III of the impeachment case against Chief Justice Renato Corona. Anduiza told the court Tuesday that Corona allegedly recalled the ruling of a labor case they won against the management of the Philippine Airlines (PAL). PHOTO by ALBERT CALVELO/PRIB/SENATE POOL (February 7, 2012).
SENATORS DISCUSS MIRIAM’S MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION: (From right) Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, Senate Majority Floor Leader Vicente “Tito” Sotto and Senators Panfilo Lacson and Manny Villar discuss the motion filed Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago asking the impeachment court to reconsider its decision to subpoena the bank accounts of Chief Justice Renato Corona. PHOTO by ALBERT CALVELO/PRIB/SENATE POOL (Feb. 7, 2012)