Day 13 Highlights

by Wilfred Avila

The hearings started late again. The last, or so we thought to arrive was Senator-Judge Loren Legarda. She must totally hate going to the hearings covered in that burgundy robe. She can’t show her collection of clothes. Hahahahaha.

Does that Sergeant at Arms really have to speak everyday? Can’t they just distribute his exact speech everyday? He sounds more ominous than the Presiding Judge.

Soon after, Senator-Judge Lito Lapid arrived almost embarrassed by being the last one to arrive. In attendance in the hearings were Ernesto Maceda, Kit Tatad, Marichu Vera-Perez, Loly Mara and so many others. The tide must really be changing. You could see a lot of parties with different colors now sitting up to witness the daily offerings of Barnum and Bailey. The circus has really come to town!

Sliding into place immediately was Prosecutor Georgidi Agga-Bao immediately went into her soliloquy of what a defendant should be saying. She even prepared her Power Point presentation to back her up. In Article III of the impeachment complaint, prosecutors aim to show that Corona committed culpable violations of the Constitution and betrayal of public trust for his alleged role in the reversal by the Supreme Court of several controversial decisions.

Immediately, she was cut to pieces by the Presiding Judge, Juan Ponce Enrile. He asked as to how they court could swear in or even ask question of a power point. No way for the presentation.

She was presenting evidences to back up the charges on Article Three. The prosecution panel was very sure that this “catch-all” charge would be their strongest. No way! The Presiding Judge was not going to be easy on them.

The prosecution lawyer appeared stumped for a moment at the start of their presentation of Article III of the impeachment charges against Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona when JPE asked them to point to a provision in the Constitution that shows that the Chief Justice has control over the entire tribunal.

However, as prosecutors introduced the charges, Enrile immediately asked if the Chief Justice exercised control and supervision over all 15 Supreme Court justices.

Enrile: Does Corona have power over entire Supreme Court? …… the Chief Justice has power and control over the members of the Supreme Court?” Enrile asked prosecutors.

To this, Prosecutor Georgidi Agga-Bao said that as Chief Justice, Corona “exercised influence” over the other members of the tribunal. The issue may be critical to proving Article III in that prosecutors must prove that Corona exercised whatever powers he had as Chief Justice to make the tribunal reverse its earlier rulings.

Agga-Bao said that there were certain provisions in the administrative code that gave the Chief Justice certain powers. However, Enrile pointed out that these powers were merely administrative.

Enrile directed the prosecution panel to submit a memorandum to the court explaining the extent of the powers of the Chief Justice “to give a guide to members of the court whether indeed the Chief Justice has the power of control and supervision over the SC.”

The witness from Palea, who’s name escapes me, did nothing but verify papers exchanged between Palea (The Philippine Air Lines Employees Association) and Supreme Court decisions. His angst and frustration at the Supreme Court and hsi personal animosity to the Chief Justice was so obvious. He even failed to mention that there was never a decision from the Chief Justice on this case but an order to return the case to the Second Division of the SC for further comment.

This was just the beginning of a truly fun-filled hearing.The great promise of the Prosecution panel, Prosecutor Rudy Farinas came next. It will be recalled that he seemed to enjoy his moment of stardom the day previous in the hearings. This was not going to be a repeat!

Cong. Rodolfo Farinas dropped the biggest bombshell at the impeachment trial of Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona today when he declared that the impeachment complaint signed by most of the members of the House of Representatives was POORLY CRAFTED. (As Ingkay Garutay would say, Hihihihihi)

Farinas was in the middle of a verbal tussle with Presiding Officer Juan Ponce Enrile when Senator-Judge Jinggoy Estrada took the floor and pointedly asked Farinas if he had signed the impeachment complaint.

He admitted he had not signed the impeachment complaint.

Asked why he had not signed the complaint even though he was now prosecuting the same case, Farinas simply said: “Mabagal ako bumasa.”

“Ang mga kasama ko kasi sa kongreso, puro speed reader iyan,” Farinas said, eliciting snickers from the gallery. Farinas said that by the time he had finished reading the impeachment complaint, “sobra na (ang signatories.)”

“Hindi na kailangan ang pirma ko,” Farinas added. A hundred and eighty eight congressmen had signed the impeachment complaint, more than enough to have the complaint transmitted to the Senate. After a brief pause, he added: “At medyo masama rin ang pagkakagawa ng kaunti. Inaamin ko,” Farinas said.

The admission broke the ice and drew laughter from the gallery and from the Senator-Judges. The gallery was uncontrollable. Even the stern Presiding Judge could not help but snicker at this comment. It is not yet clear how Farinas’ colleagues in the prosecution would feel about his admission. The boy wonder was threading on dangerous grounds with the prosecution Panel itself.

Kung confession ito, acquitted na si SCCJ. Hahaha.

FARINAS: If you are accused of rape, you can be convicted of murder.
ENRILE: Hindi ko na alam anong school mo kinuha yan…

Hahahahaha, he should know what he is talking about. (If you know what I mean.)

Late in the evening, in a TV interview. Lead prosecutor Niel Tupaz was noted whining about Farinas’ comment. After all, Tupaz himself crafted the complaint himself. Hahahahahaha. Sampal na naman galing pa man din sa kakampi nya.

However, there are few points here that we may be missing. Farinas said a lot. Firstly, that the Verified Complaint was NOT good. That if the charges were thrown out, the house fully INTENDS to refile another one next year! In a round-about way is he advancing information for us. Now, was he warning us or threatening us? JPE didn’t buy his argument and banged the gavel with a big NO!

I believe that Farinas should have stuck to his guns and not involved himself with the prosecution panel. he might have gotten extra boy scout points. Points, he sorely misses now.

JPE called for a one minute break…..a long one minute. It lasted for thirty-minutes. Nakakapagtaka lang, tuwing babalik ang mga Senador, parang lahat sila ay nagaalis ng tinga nila. Bakit kaya? Wala bang toothpick ang Senado?

As the trial resumed, JPE was informed that the Defense was not ready to cross examine because of the voluminous evidences being presented and that they had to examine all of them. This was granted.

The Prosecution meanwhile threw back the onus on the Court by saying they no longer had any witnesses ready because the Court have not yet acted on their subpeoneas. The presiding Judge clarified that they were still studying this because of the ramifications these had on the separation of powers and the Bank Secrecy Law.

The session was terminated until tomorrow! Lead Prosecutor, Niel Tupaz disappeared like lightning though media people wanted to speak with him to rect to Farinas’ statement. Naglaho parang bula! hahahahaha

What a day it has been! A friend, Eggay says that he felt he was in a Comedy Bar. I totally agree. All we did was laugh at the long exchange between the Ilocos Congressman and the Ilocano Presiding Judge. Obviously, the Ilokano connection was broken at that instant.