“This (the prosecution’s request for subpoenas) is a BIZARRE document!”
— Sen. Miriam D. Santiago.
The Valentine day episode of the Impeachment court was highlighted by Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago’s lecture on the apparent absurdity of the prosecution’s request for subpoenas.
This is the story from abs-cbnnews.com:
Miriam warns prosecution liable for disbarment
Miriam twits prosecution
The senator-judges had asked the defense and prosecution teams to explain if there is a thin line between a warrant of arrest and a subpoena and their effects on the right of a person to due process.
Senator-judge Miriam Defensor Santiago said, however, that the issue was started by the prosecution by attaching a supposed fake document in their request for a subpoena.
“It’s just a scrap of paper, ano’ng pinagsasabi nyo? Why go to court?” she asked, fuming.
She said a lawyer is liable, up to the extent of disbarment, if he brings to court a false document that he did not know of or if he willfully brings to court a fake document.
“It came from an anonymous source, pwede na ba yun…My goodness, if you bring this to trial, you will be cited for contempt,” she said.
She called the document “strange and bizarre.”
She also took note of the prosecution’s statement that the media has also such kind of information. “Kailangan nyo bang hikayatin ang court on the basis of a media account? Is this a government by the media?”
Santiago also lambasted the prosecution’s claim that it was their duty to bring to court such kind of information. “Duty my foot! It’s not your duty, but your liability!”
Santiago later went out of the session hall. She said she was “hyperventilating.”
Again, it was nice theatrics from the lady Senator-judge, which should have impressed upon the viewers the correctness of her position, which was shared by the Defense panel. But isn’t this a case of too late the hero(ine)?
This was precisely what Justice Cuevas, lead Defense counsel, kept on insisting in the first place! The good justice objected and has posted a CONTINUING OBJECTION on the presentation of evidence obtained through subpoenas requested by prosecution BASED ON MEDIA REPORTS and SUSPICIONS, which are patently violative of the right of a person to due process.
The funny thing is that in defending the prosecution’s position, Congressman-Prosecutor Rodolfo Farinas noted that in their request for a subpoena for the Chief Justice’s bank statements, they specifically mentioned that the attached document’s authenticity has not been proven but that it was the prosecution’s “duty” to submit it to the Court.
Cong. Farina’s statements apparently added more fire into Sen. Santiago’s ire. The good senator-judge exclaimed,“Duty my foot! It’s not your duty, but your liability!”
Senator Santiago explained very well that by presenting fake documents, the lawyers doing so would be liable to disbarment charges or other penalties deemed appropriate by the Court.
She made it very clear to all and sundry that evidence based on media reports or fake documents are invalid.
It would have been much better if Senator-judge Santiago had said this in the first day of trial, then perhaps she could have educated the other senators on the matter.
Unfortunately the harm and injustice has been and is continually being done. The Impeachment Court issued the requested subpoenas and continually grants additional subpoenas on the grounds that they would simply be brought to the court for “markings” but would not yet be presented as evidence.
Funny thing is, while all these documents had not yet been “offered as evidence” by the prosecution, the prosecution lawyers and Malacanang people are announcing in the media that they have already presented enough evidence to convict the Chief Justice!
See related posts: Corona’s midnight appointment is NOT an impeachable offense