Dissenting opinions can’t just be hearsay evidence

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I am not a lawyer, but common sense tells me that even the dissenting opinions of Supreme Court justices are official documents that are part of Philippine jurisprudence and cannot be called hearsay, which is what Chief Justice Renato Corona’s defense lawyer, Serafin Cuevas, insists.

I believe the testimony of Justice Secretary Leila de Lima. She is the most credible Cabinet secretary, according to surveys, and she stands her ground when she thinks she is right. Like when she prevented the Arroyos from leaving the country last Nov. 15 despite the temporary restraining order issued by the Corona-led Supreme Court, which allowed them to travel abroad.

I also admire Associate Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno for standing up to what is right. She said in her dissenting opinion that the Chief Justice reversed the 7-6 ruling of the Supreme Court, which said the Arroyos did not comply with the second condition of the Nov. 15 TRO.

If I remember right, the effectivity of the TRO issued by the Supreme Court on Nov. 15 was premised on three conditions: first, that Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo had to post a P2-million bond; second, that she had to appoint someone who can be served with legal summons; and third, that she would report to the Philippine embassy or consulate in the country/ies where she would go. Corona, De Lima said, also ordered Supreme Court spokesperson Midas Marquez to adopt his own resolution allowing Arroyo to go abroad even without her complying with all three conditions.

All this shows that Corona was part of a grand conspiracy to allow the Arroyos to leave the country and escape criminal prosecution. Corona should be removed from office for his manifest partiality toward Arroyo and for amassing questionable wealth, no ifs, ands or buts about it.

—MILDRED CLAIRE FORTUNADO, mcfortunado07@gmail.com

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