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Super-legalistic defense wasting impeachment court’s time

/ 09:49 PM January 20, 2012

Lead defense counsel Serafin Cuevas anchored his pleading for the Senate to dismiss the impeachment case against Chief Justice Renato Corona for not following due process. It seems that the defense counsel will persist on this tack.

To help avoid wasting time with further super-legalistic defense, this non-lawyer suggests that the Inquirer give space in its next issue to Rigoberto Tiglao, Amando Doronila or, preferably, Fr. Joaquin Bernas for any of them to agree with or refute the opinion of a respected former Supreme Court chief justice, Artemio Panganiban. In his Jan. 13 Inquirer column, Panganiban raises the following points:

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a. The Bill of Rights says, “No person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law.”

b. Public office is not life nor liberty.

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c. Is public office the “property” of a public official?

d. No one has a vested right to a public office. It is a mere privilege temporarily entrusted by the state to an individual, to be exercised or used for the benefit of the people. As the 1987 Constitution states, ”a public office is a public trust.”

e. Ergo, the due process clause in the Bill of Rights does not cover the return to the state of a misused public office, such as the Office of the Chief Justice.

By the way, I have not read in the Inquirer any disclosure by Father Bernas that he is the brother of the father of Luli Arroyo’s husband, Luigi Bernas. Should that relationship not warrant a disclosure whenever Father Bernas writes publicly about the impeachment case of Chief Justice Corona, a perceived ally and protector of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, the balae of Father Bernas’ brother?

—VICENTE T. PATERNO,

[email protected]

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TAGS: corona impeachment, defense, letters, public office, public trust
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