Impeachment Trial

The Fall of the Crown (Corona)

Last week, when Corona’s defense counsel Atty Roy told the impeachment court that the Chief Justice will appear as a witness provided that the Ombudswoman and several other people who are accusing him of having a US$ 10 million bank account are subpoenaed by the Court, I was reminded of an ancient saying wrongly attributed to Euripedes: “Those whom the gods wish to destroy, they first make mad”. I thought, “OMG, Corona had gone mad!”

I cannot believe that the Chief Justice and the his defense team led by a former Supreme Court Justice would be so naive or arrogant or whatever for doing such a move. First of all, they have in effect CHANGED the Articles of Impeachment and included the alleged $10 million account! They have done what the Prosecution would have loved to do. The only reason that Corona has a great chance of being acquitted is because of the flaws inherent in the Articles of Impeachment.

Second, they have the illusion that they could break down hostile witnesses. From the records of the impeachment trial, they should have seen that they (the Defense lawyers) are not good at examining or cross-examining witnesses. They were not even successful in presenting the old man, Demetrio Vicente, to prove that 7 of the real estate properties attributed to Corona were actually Vicente’s. It was thanks to the questioning of the senator-judges that convinced most people that Vicente truly owned the properties. They called Atty. Diaz of LRA as their witness and presented nothing new. Again, it was the questioning of the senator-judges that rescued the defense. The senator-judges practically impeached the witness and showed his gross negligence, to say the least. When they cross-examined Justice Secretary Laila de Lima, they got nothing. And yet, they wanted to call her again as their witness.

Now that the Ombudswoman had come to the witness stand brandishing a 17-page report from the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC), the Defense just added another burden – a huge one since the game is nearing its end.  With the media’s support, Corona’s alleged 82 bank accounts and $140 million dollar or so bank deposits are being bandied about as already proven just like the alleged 45 properties allegedly owned by Corona.

From what I gathered from the Ombudswoman’s power-point presentation, Corona could have just a million dollars or less in the banks but he constantly withdrew and re-deposited portions of it, most probably putting them in short-term time deposits just like what he did to his peso accounts. But the amount is now immaterial. Even a 1000-dollar account would be fatal.

The fall of Corona is now inevitable.

I hope I’m wrong.

With Corona’s ouster, the Supreme Court will be under the firm grip of the President. With the House of Representatives and about half of the Senate under his control, the President will have truly authoritarian powers. As Senator Joker Arroyo said, the President has just become a dictator without declaring Martial Law.

If anything, the Corona impeachment trial has shown all and sundry the convoluted justice and legal system in the country.

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RELATED POSTS:

Senator-Judges Doing The Job for Prosecution and Defense Lawyers
 Senator-Judges Inadvertently Came to the Defense’s Rescue

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