Tuesday, May 29, 2012

My Prayers Were Answered

Until late last night, I was not sure if the prosecution had the numbers to convict Renato Corona. I was busy coaching my players competing in the Philippine National Game. I frantically texted some friends to ask if we had the numbers, they replied, yes. I still did not believe them and snuck out several times to listen to each verdict. When the count went past the 3-2 result, I knew Corona will be found guilty. What surprised me is the final count, 20-3. The expected holdouts stuck to their stands. Lapid, Revilla and Villar surprised me. Lapid showed how he used on common sense better than Joker, Miriam and Marcos.

I must commend the "grand old statesman" of the senate, Senate Pres. Juan Ponce Enrile fairly and justly managed the impeachment from start to finish. He even delivered the coup de grace and will leave a legacy he can truly be proud of. One after the other, senator judges used the case of Delsa Flores. It's as if the heavens sent each senator an email of my humble request. Twenty out of twenty-three heeded my prayers. Equal protection of the law was applied. A big fish was caught and convicted because of his arrogance and his self-serving interpretation of an outdated law. Corona was betrayed by his arrogance. After his own admission, he sealed his own fate. All the drama and the theatrics was not able to save him.

Corona is finally convicted. His illegitimate reign as the Supreme Court Chief Justice is over. He not only disgraced himself but he is the first chief justice to be removed from office. He will lose his job and his retirement benefits. He will never work in government again. He should have resigned instead of dragging the entire judiciary and using it to defend himself. He will lose his simple life of P15,000 dinners, his P25,000 Barong Tagalogs and his P100,000 Christmas gifts. Even his traveling privileges will be taken away. PAL no longer needs to cozy up to him. Perhaps, his wife Cristina will truly reconcile with her relatives and not use them as props for her PR stunts. Corona will now have all the time in the world to dissect what happened to him. He can now look back and hopefully realize that his position and his power to interpret the law to use to serve his purpose wrong. Maybe he would regret ever wanting to be chief justice despite his obvious lack of court service. 

I am not kicking a man when he is down even if he deserves it. I'm simply pointing out why he is where he is now, why things had to happen and why his career ended this way. I can now sleep soundly at night knowing that Lady Justice is blind again. No discrimination between rich and poor and the law will be equally applied. We just sent the justices a strong message, they can be made accountable. My prayers were answered.


Equal Protection Of The Law

We demand and exact very high standards on "all" government employees. From the lowly janitor, messenger and even clerks to the highest officials of the land. Administrative cases are harsh. When found guilty, a government employee will be dismissed from office, barred 'til death from ever serving in government and all his/her retirement benefits taken away. I have always emphasized that these standards of ethics and integrity is raised as the position goes higher. What then makes Renato Corona an exception to the rule? Do we not expect more from him? His excuses are nothing, as pointed out by Rep. Rodolfo Farinas. They are self-serving and flimsy and even revolting to our common sense. 

In the '90s, a lowly court interpreter was dismissed by the Supreme Court for failing to disclose a small market stall she owns. The value, a mere P1,000. Corona hid millions in pesos and dollars. How then can we reconcile these two very similar case? Yes, one is administrative in nature, and the other an impeachable official. Isn't it just proper that we apply the law equally? To acquit Corona because of his flimsy legal justification, are we applying the law equally? Both are government employees, public servants that we all expect to be honest, person of integrity and possessing very high moral values. Isn't it proper to say that we should treat as both public servants?

We should ask more from Corona because he is the highest magistrate and lawyer of the land. He is not exempted from the law that rules the ordinary government employee. Delsa Flores hid mere change compared to Corona's millions. His defense team claims no ill intent on the part of Corona. They say that Corona's poor judgement is not enough reason to convict him. Can they say this while looking at Delsa Flores straight in the eye? Isn't it the height of absurdity to try and justify hiding millions from the public? I'm not a genius but certainly not stupid. It is clear that Corona willfully. It came straight from Corona himself. He was trying to avoid forfeiture. 

To the senator judges who will decide Corona's fate, I have only one request, bare in mind that a lowly court interpreter lost everything for a measly P1080. Corona deserves to be removed from office, barred from ever holding any public position and his retirement benefits taken away. Corona deserves no less. His position is not a guarantee for immunity. We have always asked why only the small fish fry. Here is a good chance for us to make a big fish pay. All we ask is that the constitutional guarantee of equal protection of the law be applied.    


Thursday, May 24, 2012

The King And His Court

Renato Corona finally took the witness stand to tell his side of the story. His litany took all three hours to complete. Al through his storytelling, he took jabs at all his critics. Even the dead was not spared. He used all the adjectives he can use to malign his detractors. Like a child throwing a tantrum, he utilized every liberal minute afforded to him by the very lenient presiding officer of the impeachment court. He couldn't care less who insulted. The illegitimate chief justice spewed lie after lie after lie to defend himself. Acting like a pompous ass of a king, he declared his position at the end of his speech and walked out of the impeachment court.

The man who never served as a judge in any court tried to escape but was prevented by the senate's sergeant at arms from leaving the premises. Even Corona's driver was ready to spirit him away. Corona must be an avid viewer of past senate hearings. He has learned from past witnesses. Health is the key to escape being asked questions. He is the king of the imperialist Supreme Court. What they say is law. He can get away with anything. He can disrespect even a coequal branch of government. 

The senate finally has had enough. They cannot be bullied even by the illegitimate chief justice and gave his lawyers an ultimatum. This changes the entire picture. He must appear before the tribunal tomorrow. We can speculate on how things will play out tomorrow. He can always act, he has proven his acting prowess before. Yes, he will face the court with doctors in tow. His lawyers will ask him questions and from time to time, will ask him how he feels. After a while, he will appear weak and his doctors will ask the court to excuse him.

The presiding officer will be put in a bind. To ask that the Corona finish the direct and cross examination will make him appear heartless and inhuman. To discharge him without the prosecution and the senator asking Corona questions and then convicting Corona can be made by his camp to appear as an abuse of discretion and the trampling of his right to due process. A sickly Corona can claim bravery for risking his life if only to clear his name. What a travesty of justice. Corona's court can now declare the impeachment proceeding as an abuse of power.

I hope I am wrong. It's just my speculative mind at work. How about you, how do you think things will play out tomorrow?


Friday, March 23, 2012

The Impeachment's Redefining Moment

It's finally the turn of the defense to present their witnesses and evidences. To dispute the real ownership of Corona's Marikina properties, they presented Dimetrio Vicente, Corona's cousin who claims to owning the said lots. Armed with a deed of absolute sale, the defense said that this clearly proves ownership. Despite the title is still in Corona's wife's name, the tax receipts and even the account, they claim that that the deed of sale takes supremacy. Okay if you say so.

Then they presented the administrator and agent of the Columns. Another deed of absolute sale was presented. This time however, a transfer certificate was attached to it. The title of the condo unit was in the Coronas name. Because the building was still to be constructed, Renato Corona did not list it in his SALN. This time however, they say that despite a deed of sale, and a transfer certificate in Corona's name, ownership cannot be claimed as there was no physical unit yet. Wha? I thought a deed of sale is enough to prove ownership? Did they consider their first assertion with regards to the Vicente testimony?

I always thought thought, and as they always manifest, the document is the best evidence. It's absurd to say that the two cases are different. The fact of the matter is that they bought a condo unit. It is an asset just the same. It should be listed in his SALN period.


Thursday, March 01, 2012

Of Brilliance And Miscalculation

As the prosecution rests its case, the burden of proof now falls on the defense. With the Supreme Court's TRO, the prosecution's hands were tied. To rest their case now was a brilliant move. Corona and the defense have their backs against the wall. It is not surprising why Miriam Santiago exhibited such an unparliamentary behavior. She knows the consequences of such a move. Remember how the senators questioned the long list of witnesses and evidences of the prosecution? Now that the prosecution had shortened the proceedings, they again question it.

The move also puts the impeachment court in a very uncomfortable spot. Even if they decide not to admit the evidences on Art. 2, the fact remains that the public now knows the vast unexplained wealth of Corona. The TRO was supposed to protect Corona, it in fact did more harm than good. Corona is the only competent witness the defense has to refute all the evidences. He may have to take the witness stand. This will expose him to questioning from all sides. The SC miscalculated the prosecution's moves

Was the move intentional or did the prosecution unwittingly boxed everybody in? The defense will move heaven and earth to have all evidences declared inadmissible. But then there's the fact that bank records have already been testified on. Even if these were stricken out, the public knows how huge the undeclared wealth of Corona is. At the back of their minds, the senators will have to consider this. They cannot simply discount these information. The senate, after hearing the rationale behind withdrawing the other articles which all evidences are hinged on SC records and witnesses, will have tp use their common sense and see the true motive of the SC in issuing different TROs.

Even if Miriam lectures the public on procedures and technicalities, the public will not swallow them hook, line and sinker. The defense and senate is between a rock and a hard place. Only a conviction will be an acceptable result. Senators cannot claim (if they acquit Corona) that they echo the voice of the people. They cannot claim that our votes do not count. They will have to assert their power as an impeachment court this time around. The defense has reiterated that they will once again go to the SC to defend their client. Cuevas thinks this is useless. He also would like very much not to allow Corona to testify. People will now be watching more closely. We are tired of being played around with. Perhaps the senators will once again try to condition the public's mind that they cannot convict Corona due to technicalities we the people know goes against the intent of the law. We of course will not take this lightly. Public sentiment must take the front seat this time.

I would love to see what's in the senators' minds. I would love to see how much common sense they actually have. To overlook what's staring them in their faces is illogical even to the simplest of minds. Will they disappoint us again? Will we see logic and common sense employed by supposedly intelligent(?) senators? I salute the Prosecutors both public and private. I pity the senate for lacking resolve. I grin at the defense for they miscalculated the ability of the prosecution. Now I can smile, no laugh at Miriam. Her antics did not escape the public's eye and ire. I have only one advice for Corona, karma comes quickly for the wicked and evil. You may still avoid humiliation. You can always resign. We don't really want you there in the first place. We would rather have a chief justice who is appointed constitutionally. We do not like midnight appointees regardless of who the appointing president is.


Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Hoodlums In Robes

Claiming judicial privilege, the Supreme Court denied to allow even administrative employees from testifying in Corona's impeachment trial. The SC claims that they have their own internal rules. There is jurisprudence that executive privilege cannot be used in the commission of a crime. It is public knowledge that Corona extended "preferential" treatment to the Arroyos when he and his co-conspirators issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) against the Dept. of Justice (DOJ) watch list order. It is also public knowledge based on Justice Sereno's dissenting opinion that Corona tried to hide the truth from the public. It is my humble opinion that the SC is obstructing justice. One cannot invoke the bill of rights to coverup a crime.

With the senate's decision to avoid butting heads with the SC, any future impeachment case filed against any justice will be an exercise in futility. Clearly the SC is abusing its powers. The SC is telling us that they are untouchables. The last bastion of justice has just been turned into a mafia den. Because of these developments, it is useless to continue the impeachment proceedings if even public documents which would not violate the "sacred" judicial privilege is disallowed by the gods of Padre Faura to be subpoenaed by the impeachment court. I would have liked to see the senate assert its power as an impeachment court and go head to head with the SC. If a constitutional crisis would be the only way for the people to see how abusive the SC is, than so be it.

Shameless and devoid of any moral value is how I see the SC now. That is how I see "all" the justices. I say all because not even one of the justices has come forward to go against the scalawags of the SC. I do not understand why Carpio and Sereno has not volunteered their testimonies if only to shed light on the obvious injustice and abuse their colleagues have committed. The SC cannot punish them, it is only by way of impeachment that they can be punished, so what are they afraid of?

So, is there true justice in our country? I shudder at the thought that there is none. Lady justice here is controlled by a bunch of hoodlums in robes that will twist the constitution if only to serve their means.


Monday, February 06, 2012

Betrayal Of Public Trust

"Public office is a public trust", this the reason why government employees whether appointed, or elected must ensure that they maintain their integrity and honesty. The Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN) is a sworn document. It's not a simple list of things you own. Every entry is presumed to be accurate and true. A discrepancy of a few thousand can be deemed honest mistakes or even lapses of memory. Discrepancies of several millions and more than half a dozen properties cannot be considered honest mistakes. If one is so forgetful as to overlook these is not fit to be chief justice.

We are taught as kids to never lie. Honesty, as we are all told, is the best policy. Was Corona absent when his teachers taught this in school? Was he sleeping when his parents discussed honesty in their home? The SALN is to ensure that all government employees do not enrich themselves during their stint in office. Being honest is to me the most important virtue every government employee must possess (loyalty to an appointing power is not included). I remember my mother who even lists the number of blouses she owns in her SAL/N.

The office Corona sits in is one of the highest offices in the land. Anyone who occupies it should not only be honest but extremely honest. Anyone who is appointed there was put there because the public trusts him. If one cannot execute his SALN truthfully, it is tantamount to betrayal of public trust. The senate should not take this lightly. Lying may not be a high crime but is the beginning and the end of all crimes. The constitution may not have a very clear definition of "Betrayal of Public Trust", but even a 7-year old can tell you what honesty means.

So what do you think of my argument? Is it safe to say that undervaluing your net worth constitutes lying? As being members of the "public", we should not be confused by technicalities. There are no gray areas when it comes to honesty, integrity and credibility.


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Atat Na Atat

Renato Corona's first brush with the scandalous midnight appointment came during the Ramos administration. FVR wanted to appoint him as associate justice. But as fate would have it and an impartial Supreme Court during that time, shot down his appointment. The reason was his appointment came during an election ban. Former CJ Narvasa followed what the constitution said. His ambition became a reality when GMA appointed his as an associate justice during her term. Fast forward to 2010. Once again, Corona would face his old nemesis, midnight appointment. This time however, he has the numbers to make something illegal, legal.

The Supreme Court was full of Arroyo appointees. So they came up with a migraine-inducing resolution that upheld Corona's appointment. I guess they thought that Filipinos are dumb and stupid and that we all slept through our Constitution subject in college. Based on his statements, loyalty is what guides him. True enough, his decisions show how loyal he is. Unfortunately for the hapless Filipino, his colleagues live by the same creed. Never mind what is lawful, he an his cohorts will bend what is straight to protect their benefactor.

Under attack, Corona decided to throw in a monkey wrench to muddle the issue. He is now asserting that his impeachment is connected to the SC's decision on Hacienda Luisita. It was clearly a diversionary tactic to confuse the public who are increasingly disgusted with a very biased Supreme Court. Clearly, GMA is still pulling the strings. Is Corona collateral damage in making GMA accountable for he sins? No he is definitely not. He is a co-conspirator in destroying the judiciary so that GMA would not be brought to justice.

Corona's ambition took several years to materialize. He persisted and persevered and GMA rewarded him handsomely. So who is "Atat na Atat"? Not content with his power and influence, he is trying to drag the entire judiciary down with him. Corona is not the Supreme Court. I will follow this impeachment. I will list down the senators who will acquit him and make them pay come 2013.