Enrile, Santiago answerable to the Filipino people

I am disappointed with Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile. As presiding officer of the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona, he did not allow a Philippine Airlines executive to testify to Corona’s acceptance of free tickets which he used in numerous travels abroad while PAL had pending cases before the Supreme Court. Enrile was supported in his decision by Miriam Defensor-Santiago who gave a long lecture with an imperious mien and appropriate pout, as if Enrile needed to be supported.

The impeachment trial, it has been said, is not really a trial but a search for truth to prove that Corona truly deserves, without an iota of doubt, to sit as Chief Justice. In the PAL case, the House prosecutors wanted to show, through the testimony of a PAL vice president, that the airline gave Corona a platinum courtesy card and that it was because of this privilege given to him that the Supreme Court reversed the already final decision favorable to the Flight Attendants and Stewards Association of the Philippines. But Enrile did not allow the PAL executive to testify because the perk was not specifically alleged in Article 3 of the impeachment complaint. Thus, the search for truth was prevented by a technicality, while defense counsel Serafin Cuevas smirked with elation.

The senators sitting as impeachment judges should be acting in behalf of the Filipino people. When legal technicalities are raised, they should nonetheless allow the truth to come out, not stifle it. They owe it to the people who voted them to office. Enrile and Santiago are lawyers par excellence. But they should not forget that they are answerable to the Filipino people.



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Short URL: http://opinion.inquirer.net/?p=24179

Tags: corona impeachment , Juan Ponce Enrile , letters , Miriam Defensor Santiago , prosecution witnesses

  • http://www.facebook.com/akatsuki76 Kazu Suda

    How can anybody claim what is right or wrong in the impeachment trial? Some insist technicalities and procedures to guide the on-going trial but aren’t they forgetting something very basic. the search for the Truth! This is the essence of an impeachment trial which makes it special and peculiar from a criminal or administrative case. From the point of view of a commoner, the question is simple and the burden is not so much as what the impeachment court tries to paint it to be. If we could only allow a Datu or Chieftain from the historical past to decide on this it would have been finished after the SALN was presented! How can CJ explain the non-disclosures and under-valuations of prime properties, notwithstanding the peso and dollar accounts (which was TRO’ed in the name of justice)? Will the defense present another set of SALN’s by the CJ? And how can the Impeachment court allow this TRO when it obviously suppressed the truth to out? Aaahh, great jurors of the impeachment trial, begging your indulgence, i have only one question for you. How can you, in all your wisdom, decide what is just if the TRUTH was not revealed due to technicalities and rules of procedures? To think that you are establishing a precedent, as JPE and some of the Jurors declared, the way this special trial was proceeding, the search for truth is already defeated. Your excuse; respect to a co-equal branch. What about respect to Juan Dela Cruz? What about respect to the Truth?

  • Brando Pascual

    The truth must come out, yes. But on how to unearth it is a matter that should be done under the law. There must be procedures to be observed in making a suspect to own up a crime he has committed. We cannot buttstroke him. We cannot paddle him. We cannot let him chew a cup of chilli.

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