Senate’s Guilty verdict to CJ Corona: What makes it non-appealable?

Chief Justice Corona testifies before the impeachment court. (Photo from: newsinfo.inquirer.net)

(This article has been published on Yahoo! Voices.)

Constitution — the fundamental law of the land. No laws shall be passed beyond the conformity to the Constitution provisions.

Sitting as the impeachment court, the Senate’s 20-3 votes in favor of guilty dethroned Chief Justice Corona from the Philippines highest court — the Supreme Court — the court of last resort.

For many, the verdict was stunning! In a sense that this was the first time ever in the Philippine history that majority members of the Senate defied the top judge’s interpretation of the law. However, in my view, the verdict was disturbing! The guilty votes had either undermined the stringent process or procedure of the rule of law or expanded the interpretation of the Constitution to a mere rule of reason or art of logic.

Moreover, the Senate’s adjudication, in my personal view, was not served up to the extent where the lady justice is blindfolded; rather was it served up to the extent where the lady is escorted!

The parameter of the conviction mostly concentrated on the declaration of Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net worth (SALN). The circumventing issues mostly underpinned on the provision of the Constitution against the legislated law.

The legislated law on foreign currency covers any person, natural or juridical. I wondered why some senators viewed that the legislated law should only be applied for banking institutions, and government personnel should be outside of the parameter of this law. Moreover, I condemned to the highest substance the thinking of some senators that went, “Public persons shall have nothing to hide”. This is a palpable violation to person’s right to privacy. Although there has been no law on privacy, but the Constitution is assertive in protecting the person’s right to privacy.

Back to the issue that circumvented on the provision in the Constitution against the legislated law, the provision in the Constitution commands government officers or personnel to declare under oath their SALN, in the manner provided by law. Completeness and accuracy of SALN declaration,although substantial in performing the provision, omission of this performance is, in fact, reconcilable by correction.

In accounting parlance, dollar accounts are assets. Moreover, in an accounting description of asset, not all assets are fixed assets that can be measured, appraised, or taken by the same appropriation. In law, the provision is quiet clear of the general term, assets. However, in legal aspect of dealing assets, the Foreign Currency Deposit law stamped the difference. Hence, Chief Justice Corona was at par correct in reconciling the loophole in the provision of the Constitution against his right to privacy as a person under the shade of the legislated law. Then, who is at fault?

True and correct that the Senate has the sole power to decide impeachment cases. If the Senate is convinced that impeachment process is quasi-judicial and quasi-political and the Rules of Court on admissibility of evidence is suppletory, I think, we all have agreed that the Senate was being liberal on this aspect. If the Constitution provides the sole authority of judicial review to the judiciary, then the impeachment process, as quasi-judicial, can be covered by such review.

If men in good standing of the law assert in this light, “If the law does not say so, then why shall we do so?” However, what I have observed during the impeachment trial until it rested and spoke the guilty verdict, interpretation of the law depends on who are you with?, what are you thinking about at this moment?, and how are you going after all?. Then, not only because there has been no appeal ever successful to question the impeachment court throughout the history of impeachment, it does not mean that impeachment decision is non-appealable. The keyword here is: sufficient grounds. If sufficient grounds of mistrial exist, then the impeachment court is not immune of judicial review. Now, when there has been no law that says so, about the immunity of the impeachment court, then the Senate should stop pretending as if untouchable!


Related Readings:

  1. Philippine chief justice acquittal: Senate’s denial of justice or denial of conscience?

Analysis: Ombudsman Carpio-Morales’ statements do not hold water

Former trial judge, now, Senator and International Criminal Court Judge Miriam Defensor-Santiago (right) showed her facile brilliance by lecturing the former Supreme Court associate justice, now, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales (left) in the impeachment court, yesterday, on AMLC rules and procedures that appeared the latter as a struggling fledgling in the arena.

(You may also read this article published at Yahoo! Voices under Opinion/Editorial category.)

In any trial, only accurate and verified documents or statements can withstand the test of truth.  A witness, adverse or favorable, can either be praised or be stripped of his or her dignity, credibility, reliability, and most importantly of his or her respect or integrity when testifying before the court. However, in the case of the former Supreme Court associate justice, now, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales, I believe, she was being stripped of respect and integrity that spelled her worth to step down from her office.

A Brief Overview of the Ombudsman

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales is undeniably an appointee of President Aquino.  Rumors before her assumption to the Office of the Ombudsman recalled her alleged ambition to become the chief justice of the Supreme Court, the position occupied by the impeached Chief Justice Renato C. Corona.

Conchita Carpio-Morales earned her pre-law degree in Economics at the University of the Philippines and finished her law at the same school, that’s it.  However, she graduated valedictorian both in elementary and high school.

Nowadays, sterling academic and professional credentials can not guarantee anyone else to land a sterling, respectable career in the government, especially during this time of Aquino administration unless otherwise you are exceptional (with machinery and political spine). This is evident when some times Aquino administration has constantly bombarded of issues criticizing the administration’s incompetence and being a failure.  Well, can we afford to look at the Republic of the Philippines’ ombudsman that way—incompetent and a failure?  Categorically, I will leave this bold question to the few. …

What made the Ombudsman appear before the impeachment court?

Two things: firstly, Ombudsman Morales wrote Chief Justice Renato Corona for the latter to answer the alleged million dollars accounts. This form of writing exercise done by the Ombudsman can be construed as a complaint in the form of initial inquiry.  Secondly, the impeachment court subpoenaed the Ombudsman upon the motion of the Defense.

Analyses drawn out from media, legal luminaries, and the Prosecution on the possible Ombudsman’s appearance before the court were evidently pinning the Chief Justice down.  However, their confidence may reach the brim of overestimation overlooking the substance of the testimonies, especially on the aspects of accuracy, veracity, and conformity to the prevailing and encompassing laws.

Then, what was the turn-out?

One thing:  Ombudsman Carpio-Morales’ statements before the Senate were bland (having gray areas monotony), structured (unprincipled and full of decayed diarrhea of playing safe defenses), and are tantamount to blabbering (talking without sufficient basis or spreading plain, studied rumors) thus, DO NOT HOLD WATER, unless otherwise verified by the Anti-Money Laundering Council or AMLC.  However, verification of AMLC, though substantial to the Ombudsman’s statement, still the Ombudsman’s move, as it seems, to pin down, at least, the Chief Justice is subject to the rules and procedures of the law.

On technicalities

Others may ask at their being bias: Why did the defense so persistent in suppressing statements or evidence on the ground of technicalities? I may answer you briefly with this:  Substantially, laws are set of rules and procedures deemed to be strictly followed to serve what is right, just, and equitable with fairness.  Thus, laws are lantern of technicalities; these beauty of laws can not be appreciated by just breaking these to serve the truth. For the truth is at its best when tested by technicalities and justice will be served; it may not be the way you like it, but certainly the law may appreciate it.

Now, did the Ombudsman abuse her authority?

Procedurally, yes, with reservation: if and only if the AMLC has found a probable cause to file a complaint before the Ombudsman or the DOJ.  Ergo, the Ombudsman or the DOJ must have a complaint from the AMLC before conducting a preliminary investigation, in this case, with the alleged million dollars accounts of Chief Justice Renato Corona. In other words, preliminary investigation of Ombudsman shall be in the manner prescribed in the Rules of Court, Rule 112, Section 3 provisions.

Did the Ombudsman perform her duty religiously?

For Aquino administration, she must have to do it at whatever cost. In the context of law vis-a-vis to the manner of requesting information from the AMLC singling out the Chief Justice for investigation, she has stretched it as far as she could.  If this is so, then the Ombudsman must have been taught a lesson by the Senator-judge Miriam Defensor-Santiago in public so the public should know the cost of the Ombudsman’s initiative—an initiative worthy of the Ombudsman’s resignation from her post, immediately!

Then what’s the point of the Ombudsman’s statements?

It was multifaceted: firstly, vindictive politics can not be set aside as the cause of the Ombudsman initiative (it seems though evident) knowing that the Ombudsman was President Aquino appointee and the latter’s supervision to the Chief Justice impeachment was popular and transparent (Read this related post, an opinion based on the prevailing and transparent political tides on: 2 why the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court was impeached?).

Secondly, it was pointless as to the weight of the Ombudsman’s statements purposive to pin down the Chief Justice.  You may ask why?  When the Ombudsman was asked by the Defense and by the Senator-judges on the accuracy, on the veracity, and on the conformity of her statements to the prevailing laws, the Ombudsman simply washed her hands asserting that her knowledge was based only on the AMLC forwarded reports.  How incompetent answer that was! With that, Ombudsman Morales did only confess that she can not stand by her own statements made under oath! Then her statements were only decayed wastes.

Thirdly, the Ombudsman’s statement maybe utilized as propaganda campaign by the prosecution side.  But the public should know that banks’ certification for all dollars accounts allegedly owned by the Chief Justice is the only one bold stroke to make Ombudsman’s statements substantial and credible.  However, the impeachment court must focus to the Articles of Impeachment, and their verdict shall concentrate solely, strictly on this matter.

Conclusion

The impeachment court, at the end of the day, should lean on the side where the technicalities of the law are well appreciated. In that way, as the high court of any impeachment proceeding, solely created by the Constitution, its sole purpose of formation, that is, to reveal the truth and serve justice can be viewed as dignified, substantial, and at the highest degree of serving justice out of the strictest obedience of the technicalities of the law where the law is deemed to be at that.  For, what things untouchable both judges and politicians have that can not simply obey what the law has prescribed and just obey the dictum of their pseudo conscience shadowed by a political brand? In other words, if senator-judges are indeed not guilty of amassing wealth clandestinely, hallelujah, this impeachment court is the holiest, cleanest court both in heaven and on Earth!

The Chief Justice impeachment is evidently a vindictive politics of the Aquino administration.  Common sense tells us so. Ergo, to weed out vindictive politics and prevent it from flourishing, as it has always been the highest policy of the state, must the Senate ACQUIT the case so Aquino shall know that NOT at all times in his administration Philippine politics plays dirty?  This may not be an ideal but the least antidote to regain respect and independence.

Uphold the judiciary independence! Resist Aquino administration political bullies!

Sources:

  1. Office of the Ombudsman
  2. Supreme Court of the Philippines
  3. R.A. 9160 or Rules and Regulations Implementing the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2001 by chanrobles.com
  4. Rules of Court by chanrobles.com
  5. R.A. 6770 or An Act Providing for the Functional and Structural Organization of the Office of the Ombudsman and for Other Purrposes by chanrobles.com

Related Readings:

  1. Why shouldn’t Filipinos trust President Aquino anymore?
  2. Prosecution’s withdrawal only shows charges to be WEAK? ACQUITTAL of SC chief justice be rendered!
  3. 2 things why SC Chief Justice Corona impeached, after all
  4. Senate as impeachment court: Political Partisanship looms!
  5. Impeachment Passed by Congress Is DISCRIMINATORY, LACK OF LEGAL FORTITUDE; Philippine Legal System May Now Be, DEAD?

(You may also read this article published at Yahoo! Voices under Opinion/Editorial category.)

 

Why shouldn’t Filipinos trust President Aquino anymore?

Pres. Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino, III (File Photo from globalnation.inquirer.net)

(You may also read this article published at Yahoo! Voices under News-Opinion/Editorial category, dated May 18, 2012)

Why shouldn’t we trust Pres. Aquino anymore? Many things, too many to mention.  For most Filipinos, “Let us not be judgmental.”  However, for some, “It is alright, who cares, anyway.”  For us…it has been too crystal clear to go specific!

Rumors or not, it has and always been a dream of every administration to gain control over its co-equal branches of the government, especially in Congress, both lower and upper.

Rumors or not, it has and always been a desire of every president to exercise her or his power, constitutional or arbitrary, with impunity (to exaggerate it)!

Rumors or not, it has and always been a human nature of every presidentiable to appear good before the voting public and later on be a master of all evils known to mankind!

Then, how should we categorize President Aquino in his cloak of alleged hypocrisy?  Only one thing:  President Aquino is the son of the former President Corazon Aquino — known of her religiosity and courage to lead the Republic in regaining democracy; a woman, an icon, and a mother whose integrity is infallible to many…but who knows in her solitude of her deepest mind and conscience? None.

Our President today is popular NOT because of his leadership that understands the problems of poverty, unemployment, etc. He is because he is Aquino, per se!

He said that he will lead the country to a straight path where no even a single Filipino clamors for, cries for, or longs for hope, for the hope in his leadership will be tractable, palpable, and transparent in every way! Have we experienced it from the day he assumed his coffin until today, anyway? For many, let us not be judgmental. Yet, for some, who cares?. For us,  it is too crystal clear to go specific!

Then, for our forefathers’ sake, why trust him?

Then, here comes the impeachment drama.  Rumors or not, it has been thought that it was President Aquino’s wish to impeach the Chief Justice; too many alleged reasons to suffice Filipinos’ inquiry for this matter.  Yet, it can be factual based on the testimony under oath.

It was divulged and testified under oath hinting that President Aquino played a major role in impeaching the Chief Justice using his allies in the Congress. Then, logically, impeachment complaint is cooked over the ire of  evil politics.  Although its implications can be long-term for Filipinos to  feel, but apparently we should get involved resisting this kind of foolishness that Aquino administration is trying to gain out of his popularity!

Simple and basic as ABC, impeachment complaint against the Chief Justice, though has reached more than the constitutional required number of votes, is outright bogus and evil! Then, it MUST BE DISMISSED and rendered as MOOT!

Related Readings:

  1. 2 things why SC Chief Justice Corona impeached, after all
  2. 1987 Philippine Constitution DOES NOT GUARANTEE IMPEACHMENT COURT’S SUPREMACY!
  3. Prosecution’s withdrawal only shows charges to be WEAK? ACQUITTAL of SC chief justice be rendered!
  4. Senate’s decisions to deny appears mechanical and inconsistent!
  5. From democracy to revolutionary story Aquino does conditioning

(You may also read this article published at Yahoo! Voices under News-Opinion/Editorial category, dated May 18, 2012)

What makes De Lima a LAUGHINGSTOCK before the impeachment court?

Oops! Madam (Sec. Leila De Lima), sorry you missed a hit... (File photo from untvweb.com)

Article 7 of the Articles of Impeachment charges the Supreme Court Chief Justice Corona of betrayal of public trust on the ground of issuing the Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) against the Hold Departure Order (HDO) of the Department of Justice Secretary Leila De Lima issued to the former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and others from leaving the country in the late last quarter of 2011.

Good lawyers may have gone so far in terms of the knowledge in every legal battle.  Furthermore, good lawyers, lawyers with sufficient knowledge of their craft, think first of their craft’s illumination before they act on matters they are supposedly, significantly, or dutifully to act on whatever basis.

In all court trials, rules of admissibility of evidence are self-explanatory to be reminded of and be guided all throughout the case. Impeachment trial, though considered as sui generis, can not deviate, modify, or revolutionize the rules of evidence just to dig out the truth.  The Constitution, the ultimate law of the land, DOES NOT EXPRESSLY provide such privilege to the impeachment court.

However, some senators keep on insisting in public that impeachment court has all the power to exercise in the name of truths to come out. Absolutely, they did not only revolutionize the sole power of the Senate to try and decide cases of impeachment, but also DEFY the very essence of the Constitution’s mandate and existence, when talking about abuse, absolute use of power that basically will lead to tyranny or despotism.

Back to secretary of Justice De Lima, what makes her a laughing stock in testifying as witness before the grand jury of the impeachment court? There are three things:

  • First and foremost, Sec. De Lima was the former chairwoman of the Commission on Human Rights during Arroyo administration.

Definitely, we are expecting Sec. De Lima to abide by the Bill of Rights and the International Declaration of Human Rights, especially on presumption of innocence, on probable cause, and the inviolability of the right to life, and her position should speak for it.

Unfortunately, it was unlikely, citing her position when De Lima issued the HDO against the former president and defied the TRO issued by the Supreme Court, which apparently violated the provisions of Bill of Rights; and this issue is pending in the Supreme Court on the matter of defying the latter’s issued TRO.

Relatively, we could suspect De Lima as “puppet”, “machinery” used by Aquino administration for political vendetta, which she denied when asked by Senator-judge Lacson during her appearance before the impeachment court.

  • De Lima is a cabinet member of the Aquino administration.

Then, we all agree that she is bias on favor of the prosecution to convict the chief justice. Then, what will impeachment court expect from De Lima’s testimonies? It would be self-serving and self-explanatory.

  • De Lima is merely relying on the dissenting opinion of either one or two of the justices of the Supreme Court.

Ergo, De Lima’s testimony is tantamount to a mere opinion. De Lima should have known it, being a lawyer at that; so she had not been wasting her time and the impeachment court’s, as well. However, what would make her to do that, given the facts beforehand that her testimony would be deemed MERE TESTIMONY after all?  We would probably agree, again, that she made it because of interest – an interest we may do not know, yet, perhaps, we do.

Dissenting opinion is generally opinion – an expression of disappointment and strong opposition based either on facts, half-truth, observations, or simply fabrication. Everybody is entitled of it.

However, in the matter of the dissenting opinion of Justice Sereno, though it is considered as part of judicial notice, it can not sufficiently weaken the effect of the collegial decision of the court. Ergo, a dissenting opinion is akin to regret, disappointment, and worst an attack to the majority to stir public review. Whichever of these may the dissenting opinion of Justice Sereno fall, we do not know; so as Sec. De Lima has no personal knowledge about what has really transpired in the Supreme Court. Ergo, Sec De Lima, can be accused of desperately influencing the impeachment court with her seemed to be desperate, fanatic interpretation of a singular opinion clouded of interest to prosecute former President Arroyo and her said to be allies.

The point is, since the Supreme Court decides collegially, then to prove that the chief justice has influenced the majority, then there should be a CONSISTENT, SIMILAR EXPRESSION OF IRREGULARITIES FROM THE SEPARATE DISSENTING OPINION OF JUSTICES. BUT, THERE WAS NONE.

Then, who will laugh all the way out of the impeachment court? Certainly, Sec. De Lima will and willingly will try to laugh out of courtesy to the public.

 

Related Readings:

  1. Testimonya ni de Lima, itinuring na ‘hearsay’ ng impeach court by abs-cbnnews.com
  2. De Lima, Sereno worked in tandem to thwart travel bid of Arroyos by Benjamin B. Pulta, tribuneonline.org
  3. De Lima Pins Down CJ… by Rolly T. Carandang, Genalyn D. Kabiling, and Hannah L. Torregoza, mb.com
  4. Impeachment court strikes out De Lima testimony
    By Dennis Carcamo, philstar.com
  5. The DOJ and Its (Seems to Be) Ignorance of the LAW: Will It Excuse Sec. De Lima from the Dilemma of Justice Apprehension? by Regel Q. Javines, FACTS and VIEWS
  6. Aquino and DOJ’s Dillydallying over Arroyo’s Medical Travel Request: A BLATANT CONTEMPT for a Constitutional Right! by Regel Q. Javines, FACTS and VIEWS
  7. Impeachment Passed by Congress Is DISCRIMINATORY, LACK OF LEGAL FORTITUDE; Philippine Legal System May Now Be, DEAD?  by Regel Q. Javines, FACTS and VIEWS

 


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