Earlier in the day, around 9:00 a.m., Chief Justice Renato Corona spoke before the Supreme Court employees at the grounds of the Supreme Court building. He lambasted the administration for disseminating through the media false information. For the past few days, the country’s mass media has been headlining the story that Corona owns 45 houses or real estate properties, according to the Land Registration Authority (LRA).
Corona read through the list and explained each one. He claimed that only five of the properties listed were his. Some belonged to his father-in-law, his son-in-law who is a successful medical doctor, and others whom he doesn’t know at all. One even belonged to Ismael Mathay, Jr. et al. Mr. Mathay was a former Mayor of Quezon City. He also explained that the list even included the titles to parking spaces he owns in the condominium. To pad up the list, Corona claimed that LRA listed both the (canceled) titles of the sellers as well as the new certificate titles.
He also accused certain people of leading the conspiracy that resulted in his impeachment.
While still delivering his speech, the House (of Representatives) prosecutors called a press conference to counter Corona’s speech / press conference.
At around 2 p.m., the Senate started the impeachment trial proceedings.
From the looks of it, it seems like the lawyers for the Defence (CJ Corona) are so much more intelligent than those of the Prosecution. But whether that is relevant or not remains to be seen.
In the motion for preliminary hearing, the defense, represented by reitred Supreme Court Justice Serafin Cuevas, put up good arguments that the Chief Justice was not given due process — there was no notice and no opportunity to answer the charges. And that is beside the fact that the complaint was not properly verified.
But the Senate President promptly denied the motion.
As for the opening statements, there was no contest. Rep. Niel Tupas gave a sophomoric brief. It was more like a talk in a campaign sortie. He focused on the apparent loyalty of CJ Corona to ex President Arroyo – even calling Corona a “loyal servant” to Arroyo. It only begged the question “what about the majority of the Congressmen?” Aren’t they loyal servants to Pres. Aquino, and before that, to Arroyo? Rep. Tupas then went on to accuse CJ Corona of ill-gotten wealth, mentioning a few condominium units apparently owned by the Chief Justice. One condominium unit was worth as low as P2 million. It must be a really small condominium unit, not more than 60 square meters in area. Surely, even Corona’s children could afford such a condominium unit.
QUOTE FROM CROMWELL
Concluding his statement, Tupas quoted a speech of Oliver Cromwell. He read it not like a fighting speech that it was. He sounded more like a schoolboy reciting a poem or a declamation piece!
Not only did Mr. Tupas delivered it awfully, he also made a mistake by saying that Judas sold Christ for pieces of GOLD. Many FaceBook people noticed the mistake. They were pieces of SILVER, Mr. Tupas, not gold! The great Cromwell did NOT say gold either. He said pieces of MONEY.
And really, Mr. Tupas apparently does not know much about the circumstances behind the speech. Mr. Cromwell addressed his speech to Members of Parliament, equivalent to our Congress.
The Rump Parliament refused to try the King for High Treason because they have been bought. In the same vein, the last two Congresses, which were composed basically of the same members as the present Congress, refused to try or impeach then President Arroyo. And this present Congress will refuse to impeach current President Aquino for culpable violation of the Constitution and betrayal of public trust.
Cromwell’s speech would be better addressed to current Congressmen who betrayed their former sovereign (Arroyo) and refuse to entertain any complaints against their present sovereign (Aquino) – all because of a few pieces of PORK BARREL.
THE DEFENSE’s OPENING SALVO
For the defense, lawyer Eduardo de los Angeles, former Dean of Ateneo Law School, easily battered the Prosecution’s opening statements. He said that the prosecution released to the media a list of alleged real estate properties of CJ Corona. And Cong. Tupas dwelled on these properties in his opening statement, claiming that they are part of their evidence of Corona’s ill-gotten wealth. Yet, Mr. Angeles said, the Chief Justice is NOT even accused of ill-gotten wealth in the Articles of Impeachment!
De los Angeles said that the accusations against the Chief Justice can be put in two categories. One is about his Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN) and the Judiciary Fund. He then proceeded to briefly rebut the prosecution’s positions.
But more importantly, the Defense pointed out that this trial is not about Corona’s alleged “misdeeds”, but about Hacienda Luisita, a 6,435 hectare sugar plantation, owned by the family of President Aquino. In November 2011, the Supreme Court decison paved the way for the distribution of the plantation to the farm workers beneficiaries. President Aquino’s family has filed an appeal and currently awaiting decision.
See my article Philippine Supreme Court Chief Justice’s Impeachment Trial Begins at allvoices.com