The historical impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona has filled the headlines and news reports of all things inflammatory and controversial, from 40% discounts of high-end condominiums, free plane tickets, peso and dollar deposits, to testing the possibility of a constitutional crisis in the country.
It’s now time to focus on something positive about the trial: the senior citizens.
Seniors play key role
Regardless if you are for or against the impeachment trail against Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona, one of the things that have stood out is the exemplary decisiveness and impartiality shown by Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile. From day one, JPE has shown fairness and such an acute awareness and astute understanding of the intricacies of the law. It cannot but make all others impressed. He celebrated his 88th birthday last Valentine’s Day, yet he’s still as sharp as ever.
The other stand out in the court trial proceedings is lead defense counsel Atty. Serafin Cuevas. This Supreme Court Justice is already 83, but still standing tall, able to place objections left and right and use the technicalities of the law to serve the defense’s advantage.
The other Senator Judges that are over 60 years of age are Senator Franklin Drilon, Senator Joker Arroyo, Senator Panfilo Lacson, and Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago. Both senators have figured prominently on the headlines, whether arguing for or against the Prosecution or Defense teams. Their speeches and questions have made headline-grabbing copy and have certainly contributed into shaping the impeachment trial today.
With age come wisdom and grace
These people have shown the nation that senior citizens can continue to participate in building the government and that age has not dulled their razor sharp wit or intelligence one bit. If anything, they have shown that with age do come wisdom and grace. This has resulted in their broader perspective of the law and the legal proceedings, and the ability to discuss technicalities of the law like the back of their hand.
Juan Ponce Enrile earned his Associate of Arts degree from the Ateneo de Manila University in 1947, graduating cum laude. He earned his law degree from UP in 1953, as he graduated a salutatorian. With a 91.72% grade, he placed 11th in the Bar exams, and got a perfect score in commercial Law. JPE also got his master’s degree from Harvard Law School specializing in taxation and corporate reorganization.
As a lawyer, JPE prides himself in never having lost as case.
As a public servant he has held many posts, such as Undersecretary of Finance, Secretary of Justice and Secretary of National Defense. He has served as the representative of the first district of Cagayan and is now Senate President.
When JPE presides over the impeachment proceedings, he is very detail-oriented, but at the same time likes to cut to the chase to speed up the proceedings. He has repeatedly reminded members of the Senate from discussing the merits of the case with the media. He also voted to uphold the TRO issued by the Supreme Court.
Senator Jinggoy Estrada, whose father underwent impeachment proceedings presided by then Chief Justice Hilario Davide, has commented in news reports that Corona is fortunate to have an impartial and fair judge to man his trial. The other senators have also expressed support of Enrile’s actions as he presides over the impeachment proceedings.
About Justice Serafin Cuevas
Justice Serafin Cuevas is a UP Law Graduate and is tasked with putting up a very good defense for Chief Justice Corona. After all, he was the appointed chairman of the Supreme Court committee that made the trial court manual. He was also a member of the committee that drafted the proposed code of Crime. Watching the retired Associate Justice of the Supreme Court in action is better than going to law school!
On Day One of the trial, Chief Prosecutor Niel Tupas showed his respects to his elder by blessing the hand of the seasoned litigation lawyer. It has also been clear that since Day One, the 83-year old lawyer has outclassed and outranked the lawyers of the prosecution team.
Even the Prosecution team can’t help but compliment Atty. Cuevas. Defense counsel Ramon Esguerra has been quoted saying that Cuevas is “very sharp, quick and organized with his thoughts.”
Senator Franklin Drilon
The Defense may have sought him to inhibit from the trial, but the presence of Senator Franklin Drilon has certainly aided the Prosecution and brought to light many things that otherwise the public would not be aware of and the Prosecution would have overlooked or missed out on.
The 66-year old senator is inquisitive and incisive as ever. Thanks to his line of questioning, he got the SALN of Corona brought to court, which greatly aided the Prosecution in proving the second article of impeachment.
Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago
The feisty lady senator may not be present at all the hearings due to her high blood pressure, but when she is in court, boy does she make her presence felt! At 67, she has not let up and is not shy at giving her two cents, even if it means giving the Prosecution’s leader, Rep. Niel Tupas, who is in his early forties, a severe dressing down. She also argued for upholding the TRO issued by the Supreme Court.
Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago obtained her political science degree from UP Visayas, taking less than four years to finish her studies. She graduated with a Bachelor of Laws degree, cum laude from the University of the Philippines College of Law. She furthered her studies with an LLM degree and LLD at the University of Michigan Law School.
She has served as Bureau of Immigration and Deportation Commissioner, and even earned the Ramon Magsaysay Award for her fight against corruption. Although she failed in her bid to run for president in 1992, she enjoys immense popularity with the voters and sits as a Senator today. She is also a judge elect to the International Criminal Court.
Hooray for our seniors
These exemplary individuals who are participating in the impeachment trial teach the Filipinos that seniors can still be active and have much to contribute to the nation. From their wisdom, knowledge and experience, they add an aura of civility, credibility and intelligence to the proceedings.
Photos from senate.gov.ph. Some rights reserved.