Speech of Senator Joker Arroyo

Speech of Senator Joker Arroyo: Explaining his verdict on Chief Justice Renato Corona [Delivered on May 29, 2012] “I will not discuss what both the prosecution and the defense had already argued in the closing arguments. Mr. President, esteemed colleagues, impeachment is a political process, not a political assassination. An impeachment aspires to be a judicial proceeding that makes imperative that it stick to judicial rules. An impeachment must ever uphold the due process that no citizen, high or low, can be denied. That is why we wear judicial robes as you see them, to listen, to ponder, and decide like judges according to law. What started in the House was not an impeachment, for an impeachment is an accusation accompanied by necessary formalities, attended by the appropriate solemnities, flanked by the liberties and guarantees that a genuine grand jury proceeding upholds. The purpose is to arrive at a sound finding of probable cause, sufficient to lodge a valid complaint charging real offenses before the appropriate tribunal. The Senate is being asked to remove the chief justice from office all because he submitted an allegedly erroneous SALN . The Senate trial could be as close to a criminal proceeding in a court of law as non-lawyers can approximate thus far, as all the great authorities agreed. What has happened is the passage of that to which the Senate president once warned—that we were veering close to a bill of attainder. A bill of attainder is a law passed by one house and approved by the other creating an offense where there was none, inventing a crime out of actions, willful or not, that were innocent when they were performed. It is a legislative act of convicting an accused of acts that were not offenses in the very measure by which he is condemned through a vote instead of a trial on the basis of accusations taken as proof.

Transcript of Speech of Senator Joker Arroyo

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Speech of Senator Joker Arroyo:Explaining his verdict on Chief Justice Renato Corona[Delivered on May 29, 2012]

“I will not discuss what both the prosecution and the defense had already argued in the closing arguments.

Mr. President, esteemed colleagues, impeachment is a political process, not a political assassination. An impeachment aspires to be a judicial proceeding that makes imperative that it stick to judicial rules. An impeachment must ever uphold the due process that no citizen, high or low, can be denied. That is why we wear judicial robes as you see them, to listen, to ponder, and decide like judges according to law.

What started in the House was not an impeachment, for an impeachment is an accusation accompanied by necessary formalities, attended by the appropriate solemnities, flanked by the liberties and guarantees that a genuine grand jury proceeding upholds.

The purpose is to arrive at a sound finding of probable cause, sufficient to lodge a valid complaint charging real offenses before the appropriate tribunal.

The Senate is being asked to remove the chief justice from office all because he submitted an allegedly erroneous SALN.

The Senate trial could be as close to a criminal proceeding in a court of law as non-lawyers can approximate thus far, as all the great authorities agreed. What has happened is the passage of that to which the Senate president once warned—that we were veering close to a bill of attainder.

A bill of attainder is a law passed by one house and approved by the other creating an offense where there was none, inventing a crime out of actions, willful or not, that were innocent when they were performed. It is a legislative act of convicting an accused of acts that were not offenses in the very measure by which he is condemned through a vote instead of a trial on the basis of accusations taken as proof.

I cannot imagine removing a chief justice on account of a SALN.

Today, we are one step from violating the Constitution and passing a bill of attainder. No one can stop us if we do not stop ourselves. This is not justice, political or legal. This is certainly not law. For sure, this is certainly not the law and the Constitution; this is only naked power as it was in 1972.

I have not thought that I would see it again so brazenly performed, but for whatever it is worth, I cast my vote, if not for innocence falsely accused of offenses yet to exist and if not for the law and the Constitution that we were privileged to restore under Cory Aquino then because it is dangerous not to do what is right when soon we shall stand before the Lord.I vote to Acquit. Thank you.”

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Speech of Senator Lito Lapid:Explaining his verdict on Chief Justice Renato Corona[Delivered on May 29, 2012]

“Kasamahan kong senador-judge, prosecution, at depensa, sa ating mga kababayang nanunuod at nakikinig sa TV at radio. Inuulit ko magandang hapon po sa inyong lahat.

Alam niyo po, wala naman akong speech dito, wala po akong dala. Ang mga kasamahan ko dito, pag pinasok sa isip nila, dadalhin sa bibig at maganda na ang sasabihin.

Bilang high school graduate po, marahil iniisip ng ating mga kababayan: “Anong sasabihin ni Lito Lapid na hindi marunong mag-inggles, na hindi maalam sa batas? Ano kaya ang magiging desisyon?”Didisisyunan po ang katas-taasang hukom na isang high school graduate lang at taga-probinsya ng Pampanga.

Napakinggan ko po ang depensa. Siguro purihin po natin ang depensa. Napakagaling nila sa mga nakakaintindi ng abugasya. Purihin rin po natin ang prosecuton, sa paghanap ng ebidensiya. Nakinig po ako sa bawat ebisensiyang inihain nila dito. Lalung lalo na kay Cong. Farinas. Ang prinisenta niya kahapon dito, para sakin po, malinaw na malinaw na na si CJ Corona ay lumabag sa batas.

Siya mismo inamin niya na may $2.4 million at P80 million na bank account. Yun po siguro hindi na kasinungalin yun, yun po ay totoo na. Nagpiprisinta po ako dito hindi bilang abugasya. Hindi po ako pwedeng magsalita ng Republic Act dahil hindi maniniwala ang tao sakin. Hindi po ako nagmamarunong dito. Ang ginagamit ko lang po ay konsensya. Representate ako ng masa na hindi nakapag-aral, hindi marunong mag-inggles, walang alam sa batas. Kaya noon pong nagsasalita si Chief Justice Corona, nagsusumbong sa taumbayan, awang-awa po ako sa kanya. Akala ko totoo ang sinasabi niya. Hindi pala.

Mas pinaniwalaan ko pa si Cong. Farinas noong nag-Powerpoint 3 dito. Ngayon ang sinasabi niya, dyan sa isang pizza pie – hindi totoo yan na may 82 akong account. Siguro kung ako ho, ang pagbabasehan ko: Kung isandaang basong tubig nialagay sa apat na drum lang ang kanyang account… Naawa po ako sa kanya dahil naiintindihan ko po kung anong damdamin niya at ng kanyangpamilya. Naranasan ko rin po yan. At sana sa pagkakataong ito, pasasalamatan ko siya dahil noong pangalawa kong panalo bilang senador, sa kanya ako nanumpa bilang senador. Pasensya na po. Pasensya na po. Ang hatol ko sa inyo, guilty.”

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Speech of Senator Sergio Osmeña III:Explaining his verdict on Chief Justice Renato Corona[Delivered on May 29, 2012]

“Mr. President, esteemed colleagues, honorable members of the House of Representatives, distinguished members of both the prosecution and the defense panels, my countrymen.In arriving at our decision today, we narrowed our concerns into four:Did Chief Justice Renato Corona violate the Constitution?Did he do it knowingly and willingly?Was the violation of such gravity as to warrant his impeachment?Has Justice Corona betrayed the public trust?Ironically, the answers to the first two questions were supplied by the defendant himself when Justice Corona admitted that he did not disclose in his yearly Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN) over PI80 million in cash and near-cash assets.While not in consonance with the SALN law, Justice Corona gave as his excuse the FCDU 4 law. Yet, nowhere in that FCDU law is the depositor not allowed to disclose his own deposits. All the FCDU law prohibits is the depository banks and third parties from disclosing the account and the amount of deposits.

Searching for the answer to the third question took a little longer. Is the violation of the SALN law of such gravity as to merit impeachment?Not surprisingly, the answers were again supplied by Justice Corona and the High Court.Numerous decisions on cases involving SALN law violations have been handed down by the Supreme Court. Among others: Rabe v. Flores; Concerned Taxpayer v. Doblada; Carabeo v. Court of Appeals; Office of the Court Administrator v. Usman; Flores v. Montemayor and several others.

In Rabe v. Flores, for example, the Supreme Court ruled that a simple, humble court interpreter in Davao del Norte in Mindanao had to be dismissed from service because she had failed to disclose in her Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth that she rented a market stall in the Panabo market. The High Court further ruled that Ms. Flores was perpetually disqualified from holding office.

I went a bit further and posed a hypothetical question to myself. If the Court had been supplied with a bank passbook belonging to Ms. Flores which showed a deposit of $10,000 which had not been reported in her SALN, would the Court’s ruling have been the same? Dismissal and perpetual disqualification from office?

My plain, ordinary, legally untrained but reasonable mind tells me “yes” the Supreme Court would have ruled similarly.

If these public officers had been dismissed from office for failing to declare far less remarkable, far less valuable assets in their SALNs, despite and regardless of their excuses, then there is more reason to apply the law when the assets in question amount to over PI 80 million.We should not penalize the poor man for stealing a bicycle but rule that the rich man must first steal a Mercedes before he is subjected to a similar penalty.

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My fourth and last question was: Did Justice Corona betray the public trust?Again, ironically, the answer was supplied by Justice Corona and the Supreme Court.For contained in the New Code of Judicial Conduct for the Philippine Judiciary under Canon 2 which covers integrity are two sections:

Judges shall ensure that not only is their conduct above reproach but that it is perceived to be so in the view of a reasonable observer.

The behavior and conduct of judges must reaffirm the people’s faith in the integrity of the Judiciary. Justice must not merely be done, but must also be seen to be done.

Mr. President, we all must face the Ms. Floreses 5 of our country, whether in Mindanao, the Visayas, or Luzon. We must be able to tell them that justice is, to the best of our ability, being applied equally to the rich and to the poor, to the powerful and to the powerless.

The Senate Impeachment Court must restore the people’s faith in the judicial system. The Senate must bring about a higher level of moral standards in governance.I therefore find for the people, guilty on Article II.”

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Speech of Senator Francis Pangilinan:Explaining his verdict on Chief Justice Renato Corona

[Delivered on May 29, 2012]

“Kagalang-galang na mga kasamahan sa Impeachment Court, mga kababayan, magandang hapon po sa kanilang lahat.

Hindi dineklara ni Ginoong Corona ang daang milyong piso at dolyar na mga account. Hindi niya idineklara taun-taon ang mga milyun-milyong pisong pag-aari na mga condo units. Ang hindi pag-deklara ng makatotohanang SALN taun-taon sa loob ng halos isang dekada ay dishonesty at isang culpable violation of the Constitution.

Ano po ang ebidensya? Nariyan ang salaysay ng PSBank president, ng ombudsman, at ni Ginoong Corona mismo. P22 million ang sinabi niya sa SALN niya ngunit halos P200 million cash ang hawak niya. Ito ba ay minor na kakulangan lamang? Dapat bang daang bilyon ang hindi idineklara para maging mabigat ang kaso?

At kung sa malinis naparaan nakuha ang mga ito, ano ang masama na ideklara niya lahat dahil wala naman siyang itinatago? ‘Di dapat ikaila kung walang tinatagong masama.Base sa ebidensya, maliwanag na nagkaroon ng sistematikong pagtatago ng ari-arian, sistematikong pagtatakip sa tunay na halaga ng mga ito.

It pains me as a lawyer and an officer of the court to say that clearly, the chief justice displayed a disturbing pattern of dishonesty, willful concealment and evasion, and a blatant and wanton disregard of the provisions of the Constitution on the Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth.

Sa paglilitis na ito, nakita rin natin angpagkatao ni chief justice. Siya ba ay dapat pa nating pagkakatiwalaan? Kung hindi po natin i-convict si Ginoong Corona, sabi po ni Speaker Belmonte, anim na taon pa siyang uupo bilang chief justice. Kung kaya niyang ipagkait sa mismo niyang kamag-anakan ang kanilang ari-arian sa Basa-Guidote gayong daang milyon na pala ang kanyang cash, siya ba ay dapat pagkatiwalaan sa loob pa ng anim na taon?

Kung kaya niyang ipakita ang kawalan ng respeto sa dalawampu’t-tatlong Senador noong siya ay nagtangkang mag walkout6, na sa aking paniwala ay napigil lamang dahil sa mabilis na kilos ng ating mahal na Senate President—ginawa niya ito sa harap mismo ng lahat ng media at buong bansa—paano kaya ang pagtrato niya sa maliliit nating mga kababayan na hindi mga senador na diimudulog sa kanyang tanggapan? Siya ba ay mapagkakatiwalaan pa na rumespeto sa maliliit nating mga kababayan sa loob ng anim na taon? Dapat po siyang managot dahil siya po ay nagkasala.

Tulad na lamang ng isang court interpreter sa Davao na sinibak mismo ng Korte Suprema dahil hindi niya inilagay sa kanyang SALN ang pag-aari niyang market stall sa palengke. Tama ba na ang pagsisinungaling ng maliliit at mahihirap ay paruhasan habang ang pagsisinungaling ng makapangyarihan ay absuwelto? Ang pagsisinungaling ba ay impeachable offense?

Si chief justice na mismo ang nagsabi sa kanyang talumpati sa harap ng Manila Overseas Press Club noong June 24, 2010, kung ano ang nararapat sa mga huwes na hindi tapat sa

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tungkulin. Sabi po ni Chief Justice, and I quote: “I believe that a member of the Judiciary who is found guilty of dishonesty should not only be dismissed from the service, he should also be disbarred, no ‘ifs’ or ‘buts’.” Siya na po ang nagsabi na kapag ang isang huwes ay nagsisinungaling, hindi lang ito dapat sibakin sa puwesto, dapat pa ho ito wa-disbar bilang abugado. Sa kanyang mga labi na mismo nanggaling na nararapat siyang ma-convict at masibak sa puwesto.

The vote to convict is a vote to defeat abuses and excesses in government. Ang boto ng conviction ay boto upang wakasan, wakasan na ang pang-aabuso at pagmamalabis ng mga opisyal ng ating bansa.

We all want a better, more progressive nation. We all want our nation to reach developed nation status in our lifetimes and yes, for our children. But critical to a modern state is an effective system of justice that has the trust and faith and confidence of our people. We all want to see the end of abuses in governance. We have heard of exposes after exposes of abuses in government. We have witnessed lawlessness, criminality, corruption, and disrespect for the rule of law. Respect for the rule of law will only be realized if punishment of the guilty is swift and in a fair trial. Unless we punish more and punish swiftly, lawlessness, abuse, and disregard of our laws will not be defeated. Those who wish to abuse their offices will continue to be emboldened to commit their nefarious activities. Only when we punish the guilty and punish them swiftly in a fair trial will respect for the rule of law be restored.

No less than the chief justice has been accused of culpable violation of the Constitution. To convict him is to uphold the rule of law and will send the signal to the entire nation that the rule of law should be respected and it should strike fear in the hearts of all those who wish to violate our laws and disrespect our Constitution.

For this reason, I find the chief justice guilty.”

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Speech of Senator Edgardo Angara:Explaining his verdict on Chief Justice Renato Corona[Delivered on May 29, 2012]

“Sa nakalipas na limang buwan, ang atensyon ng sambayanan ay nakatuon sa impeachment trial ni Chief Justice Renato C. Corona. Mula sa pagiging pribadong abogado, siya ay nanungkulan sa ilalim ng dalawang Pangulo at nahirang bilang Punong Mahistrado—isang natatanging tagumpay para sa isang abogado, at ang pinakamataas na posisyon sa isa sa tatlong magkakapantay na sangay ng gobyerno.

Ngunit napapaloob dito ay isa pang storya, ang kwento ng isang pamilya na pinagwatak watak ng mapait na away tungkol sa pagaari at pera. Tumagal ng tatlumpong taon ang away, nauwi sa demandahan—at humantong pa sa paglilitis na ito.

Pera, kapangyarihan, away, pamilya—ito ang ugat ng storya. Hindi ang lahat ng ito ay matutugunan natin sa paglilitis na ito, subalit hangad din natin na ito’y matuldukan.

The question, quite simply, is the Chief Justice’s alleged failure to disclose a true and complete statement of assets, as mandated by the Constitution, and whether this constitutes culpable violation of the Constitution and/or betrayal of public trust.The Constitution and our statutes oblige every public official to make and submit “a complete disclosure of his assets, liabilities, and net worth in order to suppress any questionable accumulation of wealth”.

This obligatory constitutional rule seeks to eradicate corruption, promote transparency in government and maintain a standard of honesty in the public service.

The Prosecution and the Defense were one in producing proof that the Chief Justice has bank accounts he did not declare in his SALN. Removing any iota of doubt about this vital fact was the Chief Justice himself who openly admitted before this Court that he has four (4) U.S. dollar accounts totaling U.S. $2.4 million, and three (3) peso accounts of P80.7 million.

I may grant the Chief Justice’s plea of honest mistake of judgment. But given his broad experience in public law and practice in investment advisory services, his willful and deliberate omission, together with the magnitude of the subject matter, amounts to a culpable violation—thus a failure meriting condemnation.

The Chief Justice justified his willful failure to disclose his U.S. dollar accounts on the so-called absolute confidentiality provision of the Foreign Currency Deposit Act (R.A. 6426). However, it seems clear that the mantle of protection is extended to foreign depositors in the spirit of promoting foreign investment. The law was never intended to be a convenient device for Filipino public officials to conceal their assets.

When the accounts were disclosed by no less than the Chief Justice, this left no prohibition against this Impeachment Court from admitting the evidence and weighing it on the scales of justice.

The defense argues that the Ombudsman illegally obtained documents on Chief Justice’s bank transactions because there was no pending case involving the subject bank accounts or any court order authorizing the production of such records.

The defense, however, fails to consider that the documents produced by the Ombudsman were official records of the AMLC7, which it receives from covered institutions pursuant

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to law. The Ombudsman has the power and authority to obtain these records from the AMLC pursuant to the Constitution and the Chief Justice's own SALN waiver.

On the whole, the defense's main objection rings hollow since the Chief Justice himself admitted to the existence of the accounts, and the amounts they held—not to mention the fact that information on these were provided by witnesses presented by the defense panel themselves.The Supreme Court no less has said, “no position exacts a greater demand on moral righteousness and uprightness of an individual than a seat in the Judiciary.” As the head of the judiciary, a standard far higher is placed on Chief Justice Renato C. Corona.

This impeachment trial breaks new ground. This Senate, sitting as judges, adopts its own rules and makes its own decisions. Within the bounds of the rule of law, it can initiate new doctrines and new precedents. Its pronouncement is the final word.

It seems unnecessary for me to dwell further on the P80.7 million account the Chief Justice stated is commingled with the funds of his children and the Basa-Guidote family. But this fund could very well provide the seed of reconciliation for the two feuding branches of the family.

For these reasons, I find the Respondent GUILTY of the charge under Article II of the Articles of Impeachment.”

Speech of Senator Panfilo Lacson:Explaining his verdict on Chief Justice Renato Corona[Delivered on May 29, 2012]

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“When a witness takes the stand, he swears to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. That makes half-truths no better than lies.

I have always been an investigator all my public service life.

Modesty aside, I have the uncommon ability to determine if a person is telling the truth or not. An error in judgment has no place in this trial because it is final and irreversible. Equally important to me is the testimony of the respondent, particularly in this case, because the exalted position of the highest magistrate of the land must shut its door to anyone who desecrates the solemn oath that engulfs a testimony in any judicial proceeding.

Over the weekend, I did my homework and discernment. Let me share it with you. Chief Justice Renato Corona, at one point, had $3,977,790.87. At a given time, he had P91,280,499.22. If you ask me, so what is the difference between $3.9 million and $2.4 million, between P91 million and P80.7 million? My answer is, “a lot of money.”

Chief Justice Renato Corona used to work as a senior officer of the tax and corporate counseling group of the tax division of a prominent accounting firm, Sycip, Gorres, Velayo and Co. He also taught commercial law, taxation, and corporate law at the Ateneo de Manila University for 17 years. I find it hard to believe his testimony that he does not understand accounting.

Chief Justice Renato Corona testified under oath that he invested in currencies and not in properties in the late ’60s, mindful of the Basa-Guidote family squabble over some real estate properties left by their deceased parents. The fact is, the family feud started in 1989. One cannot simply learn from the lessons of the future. Even if the standards of moral fitness for such a lofty position in government were lowered, an acquittal may still be difficult to justify.

Mr. President, distinguished colleagues, I, therefore, find the respondent guilty as charged under Article II of the Articles of Impeachment.”

Speech of Senator Jinggoy Estrada:Explaining his verdict on Chief Justice Renato Corona[Delivered on May 29, 2012]

“Kagalang-galang na Pangulo ng Senado, sambayanang Pilipino, magandang hapon po sa lahat.

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This trial and this court, the entire process, its completion is a historic redemption of our justice system. We owe that in great measure, to the brilliance, sense of fairness and firm resolve of our presiding officer, no less, than Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile.

I say redemption because this same process failed to achieve justice for my own father, former President Joseph Ejercito Estrada. It failed because, clearly, the plan was to resolve the issue in the streets and it failed sadly because the presiding officer at the trial of my father proved to be a partisan himself. Those sordid accounts, those sordid events led this nation to nine years under the rule of a woman, “a small woman,” who was installed by the rule of the mob and the imprimatur of a Supreme Court that succumbed to the pressure of that mob.

I am more than sure that my father would have been given the chance to be heard fairly, justly and squarely katulad ng pagkakataong ipinagkaloob ng impeachment court na ito kay Chief Justice Corona. Had the impeachment rules been strictly implemented then in 2001, those private prosecutors who disrespected this Court by walking out, thus robbing my father the chance to defend himself, would have not been allowed to do so, much less be held in contempt.

Today, we confront and make history. We make a historic decision this day to pass judgment on the chief magistrate of the Supreme Court of this nation after 44 grueling days of trial spread out in four difficult months. Our people followed this trial closely. And in this exercise, we have demonstrated to them and to the international community that our country adheres and subscribes to the supremacy of the democratic framework and the majesty in fulfilling the mandate of the most basic of all our laws: the Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines.

Sa paglilitis na ating isinagawa sa harap ng sambayanang Pilipino, itinaguyod natin sa ating Senado ang itinadhana ng ating Saligang Batas. Binigyang-buhay natin ang diwa ng mga proseso ng ating batas at binigyan natin ng patas na pagdinig ang panig ng taga-usig at ng nasasakdal.

Today, I join the nation, in a fervent prayer, that we can begin healing the wounds inflicted by the pain of this trial. We pray that we can, as soon as possible, bring closure to this painful episode in the annals of our country. I pray that, as we conclude this defining moment, we can unite again as a nation, as a society and attend to the many pressing problems that face us.

I take the view, after hearing the arguments and counter-arguments that the chief justice did not include in his Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth, his SALN, $2.4 million and P80.7 million. This, he admitted in open court. Napatunayan ng depensa na hindi 45 properties kundi lima lamang. Hindi 82 dollar accounts, kundi apat lamang. At hindi $10 million, $11 million, $12 million, kundi $2.4 million lamang. But these numbers are irrelevant. Because the most important question is: Itong limang real properties, apat na dollar accounts na may halagang $2.4 million ba ay idineklara nang tama? Idineklara ba ito sa takdang oras o panahon? Ang sagot ko po ay hindi.

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It was argued by the defense panel that the non-inclusion of dollar deposits by the chief justice in his SALN was made in good faith and is covered by the provision of absolute confidentiality under the Foreign Currency Deposit Act. I regret to say that I am not convinced because the chief justice is a learned man of law. He is, in fact, the chief justice of the Supreme Court, isang opisyal na hindi lamang malalim ang kaalaman sa batas kundi isang opisyal na may tungkuling basahin kung ano ang ibig sabihin ng mga batas. Bilang punong mahistrado, siya ay dapat na may high na kaalaman at pag-unawa sa diwa ng batas at tungkulin niyang ipatupad ito na walang bahid ng pagtatakip sa pansariling interes. And I believe that the framers of the Foreign Currency Deposit Act did not intend to create the opportunity for public officials to conceal their assets or stash away foreign currencies under this law.

I, therefore, make this painful decision with a heavy heart but confident that we have given justice to our people.

Sa kadahilanang ito, wala akong pag-aalinlangan ngayon na ang nasasakdal ay nagkasala at lumabag sa itinadhana ng ating Saligang Batas. Sa wikang Ingles, in my eyes, he is guilty.Maraming salamat po.”

Speech of Senator Loren Legarda:Explaining her verdict on Chief Justice Renato Corona[Delivered on May 29, 2012]

“Mr. President, Sambayanang Pilipino, hindi po madaling humusga ng kapwa, lalo na kapag ang nasasakdal ay ang punong mahistrado. Mahirap pong humusga sapagkat tayo ay tao lamang.

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Ngunit ito po ay isang sagradong tungkulin na ating dapat gawin. It is a sacred mandate I must keep and I do it in all honesty and sincerity without anything in exchange, without bending to any perceived pressure but borne out of intensive study, contemplation, and prayer.

Mr. President, while we ponder on the three Articles of Impeachment, the most robust documentary and testimonial evidence and debates have centered around Article II. I, therefore, select Article II as the anchor of my verdict because I hold that public and truthful disclosure of assets, liabilities, and net worth by a public official is a key and fundamental element of governing through the norms of transparency and accountability and a centerpiece principle of democracy. Disclosure of SALN is the only window by which the public can judge whether or not we have undeservedly enriched ourselves in public office. Through it, we, as public officials, earn public trust. Public trust is not simply an administrative entitlement by those in government.Mr. President, I am disappointed that concessions of disclosure of SALN and the waiver of bank secrecy have only been belatedly and calculatedly done when these have been rendered moot by the practical turn of events. I also believe that interpretations in the wordings of a law should not obscure the charge of betrayal of public trust supported by evidence, for public trust is earned through transparent, often voluntary gestures of honesty by officials in question, and not solely by legal argumentation, no matter how sophisticated.

In casting my vote, Mr. President, my chief concern is the credibility and the trust of our people in the most important institution of our land whose mandate is to interpret the law and render wise and fair judgment equally to all.

Sa dinamirami po ng mga argumentong legal, ebidensiya, at pati na po ng napakaraming PowerPoint presentations na inilatag ng prosecution at ng depensa sapaglilitis na ito, isa pong kaso na hinatulan ng Korte Suprema noong 1997 ang tumawag sa aking pansin. Ito po iyong kaso ng isang kawani ng Hudikatura, isang interpreter sa Regional Trial Court na siyang tinanggal sa serbisyo dahilan sa hindi niya naideklara ang kaniyang negosyo sa palengke sa kaniyang SALN.

Ginoong Pangulo, kung ang ating mga batas tulad ng Republic Act No. 6713 9 ay nagpaparusa ng dismissal sa isang ordinaryong kawani ng gobyerno sapaglabag ng mandato upang maiwasan ang katiwalian, wala po akong nakikitang dahilan para po hindi ipatupad ang parehong batas na ito sa isang punong mahistrado.

Mr. President, we are all guided by the basic principle of equal application of the law. And in Thomas Jefferson’s own words, and I quote: “It is certainly for the good of the whole nation to deal law and justice to all by the same rule and the same measure.”

If we acquit the chief justice, we would tragically lift the floodgate for public suspicion and widespread distrust on the highest institution of our judicial system. We also lower the bar of public accountability of government officials. It was not easy. It is painful, but we must do it. I, therefore, vote for removal from public office. I vote to convict.”Speech of Senator Vicente Sotto III:Explaining his verdict on Chief Justice Renato Corona[Delivered on May 29, 2012]

“Mr. President, Article II of the Articles of Impeachment states that respondent committed culpable violation of the

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Constitution and/or betrayed the public trust 10 when he failed to disclose to the public his Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth.

I have come across Supreme Court decisions whereby lower court judges have been dismissed and deprived of all their benefits for simple infractions of law or mis-steps injudicial conduct.Question: Should the same strict measures ought to be applied to the members of the Supreme Court? The answer depends on who you ask. So, I put that aside. Let us put that aside.

After 43 days, this trial has been heard by the people. The Constitution mandates that the Senate try impeachment cases. Ang taumbayan ay naghahalal ng mga senador mula sa iba’t-ibang propesyon at estado ng lipunan upang sila ay katawanin at bumigkas ng kanilang saloobin.

Ang tunay na hukom sa paglilitis na ito ay ang taumbayan. Nadinig nila ang dalawang panig. Tulad namin, hindi lahat sila abogado. Ngunit ang kapangyarihan ng demokrasya ay nasa kanilang mga kamay.

In my conscience, Mr. President, I have heard their decision. And for them, I vote guilty.”

Speech of Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr.:Explaining his verdict on Chief Justice Renato Corona[Delivered on May 29, 2012]

“Mr. President, ladies and gentlemen, the Lady Justice wears a blindfold for a reason. She is to render judgment based on law and evidence without regard to the circumstances and

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personalities of the parties involved. However, controversial they may be, she is to dispense justice without fear or favor.

We here all took an oath to do impartial justice according to the Constitution and the laws of the Philippines. And, like Lady Justice, we are bound to do so without fear or favor.

An impeachment trial is sui generis. But, be that as it may, the Bill of Rights stands supreme over all the powers of government including the power to impeach, and nowhere is this precept more opposite than in this case, where the government has mustered all the resources at its disposal not only to secure evidence against the chief justice but further to ensure his conviction.The crucial issues that have picked the interest of the Senator-Judges, as well as the public, were outside the original ambit of the impeachment complaint and have been brought forth only after its filing. Evidence in some of these issues came from questionable sources, beginning with the unidentified little lady to documents anonymously left on gates and in mail boxes.

At the expense of the sub judice rule, evidence had been presented to the public on several occasions even before they were formally offered before this Court. Worse, information was grossly exaggerated with the apparent intention to predispose the public mind against the chief justice.

Notable examples would be the Land Registration Authority report with the discredited list of 45 properties and the unauthenticated AMLC report claiming that the chief justice allegedly owned $10 million dollars.

Still, the chief justice sufficiently addressed the accusations against him with regard to the filing of his SALN and the disclosure of his real properties and peso deposits.

Relative to his dollar deposits, the chief justice believed that he was under no legal duty to declare these deposits pursuant to Republic Act No. 6426 which affords absolute confidentiality to all foreign currency depositors. This interpretation of the law is now being publicly criticized as flawed. However, it is known to all of us that quite a number of publicofficials construe Republic Act No. 6426 vis-a-vis Republic Act No. 6713 in exactly the same manner.

In view of the ambiguous situation created by the concurrent application of the 1987 Constitution, the SALN law and the FCDU law, and absent a determinative judicial pronouncement that resolves the contrary positions on this legal issue, the chief justice must be presumed to have acted in good faith. Indeed, it has been held that not all omissions and misdeclarations in the SALN amount to dishonesty.

The framers of the Constitution intended culpable violation of the Constitution to mean a willful and intentional violation of the Constitution. Betrayal of public trust, on the other hand, was meant to be a catch-all phrase to encompass all acts violative of the oath of office or which render the officer unfit to continue in service.

Both grounds, however, were contemplated to exclude unintentional or involuntary violations, errors made in good faith and honest mistakes in judgment. Granting, therefore, that the chief justice violated the SALN law, this certainly does not rise to the level of an impeachable offense. We may be faulted for erring on the side of

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conservatism, but what we are doing is nothing less than redefining the relationship between branches of government. And when such great affairs of state are uncertain, the resulting instability puts every Filipinos future in limbo.

This is an important, delicate momentous event and because of that we should tread very lightly. We must be very, very careful and very, very fair in making this decision because what we do today will reverberate throughout our social and political history affecting generations beyond ours.

When the furor has died down and this political storm has subsided, I know that like Lady Justice, we shall find solace in the fact that this decision though may be not popular, was fair, impartial, and just.

On the arguments presented and on the ground that the presumption of innocence has not been overcome, I vote to acquit the chief justice of the Supreme Court.”

Speech of Senator Franklin Drilon:Explaining his verdict on Chief Justice Renato Corona[Delivered on May 29, 2012]

“Mr. President, the Constitution commands every public official, including the respondent chief justice, to file an accurate and complete SALN. This requirement is not a mere formality as it goes into the heart of a public official’s and respondent’s moral fitness to hold public office.

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Respondent concealed his luxurious condominiums for five years after they were fully paid. Respondent reported the values of these condominiums at less than 50 percent of their acquisition costs. Respondent admits that he did not declare $2.4 million and P80 million in his SALN. The enormity of the respondent’s hidden assets over P180 million or 50 times more than his declared cash assets-is scandalous. It is grossly disproportionate to his total income for ten years of about P27 million. It establishes & prima facie case of ill-gotten wealth under the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

One hundred eighty million pesos. Res ipsa loquitur. The thing speaks for itself.Respondent justifies his concealment of his dollar accounts because of the alleged confidentiality in Republic Act 6426. This kind of interpretation, Mr. President, will encourage aspiring thieves in government to simply hide all their loot in FCDU accounts. The law does not prohibit respondent from disclosing his foreign currency deposit. What the law bars is for a bank to disclose this foreign currency deposits without the consent of the depositor. In fact, the respondent authorized this impeachment court to inquire into them.

How can the respondent, the chief justice no less, claim good faith in asserting such a twisted interpretation of the law? Besides, the defense of good faith cannot be invoked. The punishable act of nonreporting of assets in one’s SALN is mala prohibita, where good faith is immaterial.Respondent concealed his P80-million deposits because, allegedly, they are commingled funds of BGEI and that of his relatives. Respondent presented no evidence to substantiate his claims. If BGEI funds are held in trust, respondent must report such funds as assets and enter the corresponding liabilities in his SALN. He did not. He cannot claim good faith. He was the manager of SGV’s Tax Department.

The Supreme Court dismissed Delsa Flores, a lowly court interpreter for not reporting in her SALN her stall in a public market. The chief justice must be held to a much higher standard. Those who dispense justice must conform to the highest standards of professional integrity and personal honesty.

Chief Justice Corona, knowingly, deliberately, and with malice, aforethought, filed inaccurate and false SALNs to conceal his enormous wealth. Where our Constitution and our laws require disclosure, he chose the path of concealment. He has lost his moral fitness to serve the people. He has betrayed the public trust. He cannot be chief justice a minute longer.

I find the respondent guilty of Article II.”

Speech of Senator Aquilino Martin Pimentel III:Explaining his verdict on Chief Justice Renato Corona[Delivered on May 29, 2012]

“Magandang hapon po sa inyong lahat.Maayong hapon kaninyong tanan.Impeachment is a constitutional administrative proceeding. When there is sufficient credible evidence to prove a constitutionally recognized ground for

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impeachment, then the impeached high government official must be removed from office.

There is evidence on record which shows that respondent Corona did not declare in his SALNs for certain years real properties worth millions of pesos. There is also evidence on record as well as admissions that millions of pesos and millions of dollars were also not declared in the respondent’s SALNs.

The arguments of the respondent do not persuade this Senator-Judge.

1. The ownership of real property is transferred upon delivery of the real property sold.When the contract of sale of the real property is embodied in a public instrument, the execution of the said instrument is equivalent to delivery of the things owned.

2. There is no law exempting commingled funds from disclosure in the SALN.Minarapat sana ng Punong Mahistrado na iwasan ang ganitong mga alanganing transaksyong pinansyal. Hindi na nga iniwasan, ginagamit pang kasangkapan upang hindi tumupad sa kaniyang tungkuling ilahad ang tunay niyang yaman.

3. The duty of a public officer or employee to submit under oath a declaration of assets, liabilities and net worth is mandated by the Constitution. In case of conflict, the Constitution prevails over RA 6426.

4. The SALN is required by RA 6713, a 1989 law. The Respondent relies on RA 6426, a 1974 law. In case of conflict, the later law prevails over the earlier law because the later law is the latest expression of the legislative will.

5. RA No. 6713 emphasizes the obligation of the public official and employee to file his SALN as well as the right of the public to know their assets, liabilities and net worth.The 1974 law, RA 6426, cannot be interpreted in such a way that it would nullify the main purpose of the Code of Conduct as a tool against graft and corruption.

Hindi layunin ng RA 6426 ang magsilbing kanlungan ng mga tiwali sa gobyerno. An earlier law cannot be interpreted to nullify the purposes of a later law. The respondent relies too much on the phrase “of an absolutely confidential nature.” This phrase is practically useless as the Secrecy of Bank Deposits Act itself provides four exceptions. Jurisprudence and other laws add six more exceptions. The Foreign Currency Deposit Act, the FCDA, provides one exception and jurisprudence and other laws provide for a further two more exceptions. How can something be of an absolutely confidential nature when there are so many exceptions to the rule of confidentiality?

The 1974 Foreign Currency Deposit Act and the 1989 SALN Law do not have to exclude each other, they can be harmonized. This Senator-Judge respectfully submits that the two laws could be harmonized as follows: foreign currency deposit accounts continue to be protected from idle inquiry but the amounts of these deposits must be declared as assets in the SALN, converted to Philippine peso without need of disclosing details like the existence of the foreign currency accounts, the name of the bank, and account numbers.

Furthermore, RA 6713, in requiring that the SALN shall contain information on all other assets, does not distinguish between peso and foreign currencies. When the law does not distinguish, neither should we distinguish.

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The respondent has consistently misinterpreted all the laws as releasing him from his constitutional duty to disclose his entire assets in his SALN. The respondent never corrected his SALNs to reflect his true net worth. These facts have convinced this Senator-Judge of the respondent’s intent to avoid his constitutional duty to disclose his true net worth.

Simple lang. Kung ayaw mong ilahad ang tunay mong yaman, huwag kang pumasok sa gobyerno. Under RA 6713, any violation is sufficient cause for removal or dismissal of an ordinary public employee. Ang patakarang ipinapatupadpara sapangkaraniwang empleyado ng gobyerno ay dapat ding ipatupad sa punong mahistrado sapagkat tayong lahat ay pantay-pantay sa ilalim ng bat as. Ang batas para kay Juan ay batas din para kay Renato.

Therefore, this Senator-Judge finds the respondent Chief Justice Renato C. Corona guilty of culpable violation of the Constitution and betrayal of public trust under Article II of the Articles of Impeachment.”

Speech of Senator Pia Cayetano:Explaining her verdict on Chief Justice Renato Corona[Delivered on May 29, 2012]

“Today, we face a difficult task of deciding whether the man who holds the highest position in the Supreme Court has committed acts tantamount to betrayal of public trust that would warrant the removal from office. It is all the more difficult for me because I took my oath before this man.

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If this were a purely legal process, my legal training would require that much of the evidence presented is disregarded due to the irregularities in obtaining the same. But this is not a purely legal process. The framers of the Constitution did not set the quantum of evidence nor the burden of proof required to convict. Much was left to the individual conscience and the collective wisdom of the Senate.

Further, impeachment cases are heard by Senator-Judges with different professional backgrounds. Of the 23 Senator-Judges, less than half of us are lawyers. Thus, I was challenged and admittedly burdened by the need to balance my legal training as a lawyer and my calling as a public servant, particularly a Senator-Judge.The chief justice states that the requirement in the Constitution to declare one’s assets, liabilities and net worth is “as may be required by law.” He then cites Republic Act No. 6426 or the Foreign Currency Deposit Act as that law which states that dollar deposits are absolutely confidential, thus providing him with a shield. Is that the law in point? Is that the law that the Constitution stated will be required by law? I submit it is not.

It is Republic Act No. 6713, the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees, which, among others, requires the submission of a Statement of Assets and Liabilities, and provides the details thereof. It requires stating all kinds of assets, including cash on hand and in banks. There are no exceptions. To allow the contrary view would be setting a deadly precedent, it would allow any official to hide his assets behind the cloak of the Foreign Currency Deposit Act. Does that make sense? It does not, both from a legal point of view and from a lay person’s point of view. Bakit puwedeng itago ang per a sa dolyar? Makatarungan ba iyon?

Republic Act No. 6426 on the Secrecy of Foreign Currency Deposit is not an exception to the law requiring the declaration of the SALN. In fact, it is easy to reconcile the same. A government official should declare his assets and liabilities. But then, no one can examine the bank account without his written consent.

The defense then posits the view that misdeclaration in the SALN is minor and, therefore, not an impeachable offense compared to other impeachable offenses like bribery and treason.

As a lawyer, to me, minor inaccuracies in the SALN such as parking lots or a unit whose ownership is under contention would not amount to betrayal of public trust. In fact, corrections are allowed under the law but the failure to declare $2.4 million and some P80 million is not minor.

In decided cases, the Supreme Court has ordered the dismissal from service of public officials and employees for failure to declare a sari-sari store, two motor vehicles and for nondeclaration of several assets such as real property and bank deposits. These are the cases of Rabe v. Delsa Flores, Ombudsman v. Nieto Racho, Flores v. Montemayor.

I also have difficulty accepting the defense of commingled funds. Yes, the fact of commingling of funds, I believe, is common among families, but the huge amounts involved leave much doubt in my mind.

In our interpretation of the law, we, who hold a position of public trust, must choose the interpretation that will uphold public interest over private interest. Regardless of whether

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malice or the intent to suppress the truth was present, we must remember that public office is a public trust. Once that trust is gone, we must step down to preserve the integrity of the position we hold. Kapag nawala po ang tiwala ng taong bayan dapat po bumaba na sa puwesto. Dapat po pangalagaan ang posisyon na iyon.

Lastly, we need to remember that we can only mature as a democracy if we can learn from this impeachment experience.

From the start I questioned breaches in procedural law and ethical conduct of various participants in the impeachment process—the trial by publicity, the irresponsible hurling of bloated unverified figures and assets, among others. My fervent hope is in the future, the pursuit of justice will be conducted in a more responsible manner lest our children are left with the impression that those accused of wrongdoing can be persecuted without respecting their rights.The other lesson must go beyond the chief justice. It is the call for transparency. I echo that call. Those of us who sit as judges, those of us who act as prosecutors and all those in public service should not hide behind our titles. We must come clean and give meaning to the constitutional requirement that we declare all our assets.

Mr. President, on the accusation made in Article II, I find the respondent "guilty.”

Speech of Senator Gregorio Honasan II:Explaining his verdict on Chief Justice Renato Corona[Delivered on May 29, 2012]

“To our countrymen, my fellow Filipinos, Mr. President, distinguished colleagues, honorable members of the prosecution and defense panels.

From the beginning of this trial, I have been looking for a reason to acquit based on compassion, based on the basic precept that a man is innocent until proven guilty beyond

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any reasonable doubt. And based on my own personal experience, I know what it is like to have my family maligned and to be deprived of due process.That being said, this trial is not about personalities, emotions, or partisan politics. This is about judging whether the highest magistrate in the highest court of the land is fit for the job. It is his integrity beyond any doubt. Is his understanding of the law absolute and beyond question as the position demands? At every moment in his legal career, did he speak out against injustice and uphold the law rising above us all? An institution is only as strong as its leader and we, Senator-Judges, are only extensions of the will of the people. We have gone through the process to bring us as close as possible to certainty.

It is my opinion that we have not proven if the defendant is corrupt or if he is malicious. What is clear is that based on the doubt cast on his capability to dispense justice and to do his duty, he is no longer fit to preside over the highest court in the land. Ang malinaw po ngayon ay may duda na sa kakayahan ng ating Punong Hukom. Doubt is the opposite of faith and faith is the source of hope. Doubt does not happen in our brain where reason lives but in our hearts where our moral compass rests.

I vote to ask the chief justice to step down from the pedestal where he was installed by the nation and where he was supposed to preside over the highest court in the land, so he may once more walk among our people where all public officials must be judged. Bumalik na siya dito sa atin, sa piling ng taumbayan para maranasan niya ang bunga ng kanyang pagkukulang,Sambayanang Pilipino, ang hatol ko po ay guilty. Mr. Chief Justice, I wish you strength and honor.

Thank you, Mr. President.”

Speech of Senator Ralph Recto:Explaining his verdict on Chief Justice Renato Corona[Delivered on May 29, 2012]

“I base my decision on facts presented in this Court and not on opinions aired outside of it; on testimonies of witnesses and not on theories of wags; on the arguments of lawyers and not on the analysis of their spokesmen; on submitted evidence and not on anonymous leaks; and above all, on the figures and official documents and not the numbers on the recent polls. Because as a judge, my duty is to choose what is right and not what is popular.

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Having expressed the foundation of my decision let me put forward my observations on this trial.First, in an impeachment complaint, length is not strength. Better for an indictment to be short but substantial than one that is long in allegations and short in proof.

Second, haste makes waste. The reason why the trial simmered in the Senate is that the Articles were served half-cooked instead of well-done.

Third, the way evidence was produced left a bad taste in the mouth. Mr. President, let me now explain my vote.

There is no such thing as a SALN so statistically perfect that it is precise to the last decimal point. If a government employee is asked to catalog what he owes and what he owns, some information may fall into the crack, not as an act of deliberate concealment, but as an unwitting omission done in good faith. So, this boils down to the degree of the unintentional miscalculation. And logic dictates that we accept the slight inaccuracies because if we leave no room for those, then, believe me, no government official will be left behind his desk.

In the case of the chief justice’s SALN, the undeclared assets are so huge—50 times more than what he declared in cash—$2.4 million in U.S. dollar deposits, P80 million in peso deposits—that they cannot be brushed aside as innocent exclusions.

The very same Constitution that he had sworn to obey and uphold makes it mandatory for a public officer like him to submit a true declaration under oath of his assets, liabilities and net worth. Mr. Corona knows this because in cases brought to the Supreme Court, he had punished his fellow government workers for failing to disclose far lesser amounts. He should have declared the above. Thus, I vote guilty on Article II.

Mr. President, in a few hours, we will be pulling the plug on this afternoon’s political telenovela. With a sigh of relief, let us go back to our regular programming where hard unheralded work is done away from the camera lights.

The end of the trial does not call for celebration. It calls for getting our bearings back and setting our priorities right again.

One in five people who watched this trial on TV occasionally, go hungry. One in three in the labor force had all the time to watch because they had no work. Five in ten people who follow this trial rated themselves poor. Eighty percent do not even have a bank account or savings. So, if we think what we have done here is herculean, then, we stand indicted for being clueless of what our people want and ignorant of our true potential.

It is easy to impeach one man; what is hard is to impeach hunger, to impeach joblessness and to impeach poverty.

Thank you, Mr. President.”

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Speech of Senator Gregorio Honasan II:Explaining his verdict on Chief Justice Renato Corona[Delivered on May 29, 2012]

“You shall do no injustice in judging a case. You shall not be partial to the poor or show preference for the mighty. But in the righteousness and according to the merits of the case, judge your neighbor.” – Leviticus 19:15

Why do we complicate the simple? Diba simple lang naman ang issue: Sino ang nagsasabi ng katotohanan? Ano ba ang katotohanan base sa ebidensiya na naibigay sa korte na ito? Ano ba ang katotohanan?

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Almost 10 years ago, nasa Amerika po kami at nagpapagamot ang aking ama. Hindi pa namin alam noong panahon na iyon na may cancer na pala po siya sa tiyan. Dahil gabi-gabi naman po siyang umiiyak sa sakit around 2 o’clock in the morning, tinanong ko siya: Dad, ano ang masakit?

Nagulat po ako sa sagot niya. Sabi niya: “Alan, 40 years ago, I studied here and worked here. I always planned to go back home. 40 years later andito na naman ako. Andami nang umunlad na bansa, pero ganoon pa rin tayo.”

Nabasa ko sa kanyang mata ang simpleng katotohanan na yung corruption at kahirapan ay dinudurog ang espirito ng isang nadudurog na ang katawan. Mas masakit pala yun na yung espirito at pagasa ay nadudurog lalo na kung para sa sariling bayan.

Gusto ko po na magbago ang ating bansa. Gusto ko po na makita na nakatawa rin ang aking ama. Ngunit mayroon din pong kanser ang ating lipunan. Kanser na ang ibang batas at ang ibang pamantayan o standard sa ating lipunan ay iba para sa mayaman at makapangyarihan at iba para sa mahirap. Kanser ng korupsyon. Kanser na para sa mga mayaman at makapangyarihan na ang simple ay ginagawang komplikado.

Dahil sa kanser na ito, iba’t iba ang interpretasyon ng batas para sa mayaman at mahirap. Hindi ko po matanggap ang eksplanasyon ng pinakamataas na hukom ng ating bana na yung $2.4M ay hindi kailangang ideklara sa SALN under RA 6426.

Hindi ko po pwedeng matanggap na ang isang public official sa isang simpleng paraan na iko-convert sa dolyar ay pwede na niyang hindi ilagay sa SALN. Kaya po ba nating tanggapin ang interpretasyon na kung yung $2.4M ninyo ay ilalagay niyo sa safety deposit box o ilalagay niya sa isang kaha-de-yero sa opisina niyo o itatago niyo sa isang baul sa bahay ay kailangan ideklara sa SALN pero kapag idineposito sa banko ay hindi kailangan ilagay sa SALN?

Mukhang ginawa nating komplikado ang simpleng simple.

Kapag Pesos ang pinag-uusapan, kahit may confidentiality, kailangan itong ideklara. Pero pagdating sa dollars hindi kailangang ideklara? Pati ba naman sa pera may diskriminasyon tayo? Pati ba naman sa sarili nating bansa ay nangingibabaw ang dolyar sa peso?

When a public official, especially a judge, is faced with 2 possible interpretations of the law, one which will give life to the spirit of the sovereign will of the people embodied in the Constitution and another that will protect only himself, it is his moral, human, constitutional duty to choose to protect the Constitution and not himself.

If a public official has a choice between harmonizing several laws with the Constitution RA 6716, RA 6426 and the other choice is to make them repugnant with each other. O sa tagalong, hindi pwedeng ipagsama (ang mga batas na ito), ano dapat ang kanyang desisyon? Diba dapat simple?Lahat ng abugado alam yun. You construe it that you will harmonize all of these laws.

Ito po ang tanong ko: Paano po kapag may kaso ang 1.3M civil servants, ilan man sa kanila, isa, dalawa,o marami sa Korte Suprema? Paano kung halatang halatang tinago lang ang pera pero dollar account ang ginamit? Will the Chief Justice have the moral

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ascendancy now to convict that public official? Hindi pwede. Dahil sa sarili niyang depensa, ginamit na niya ang interpretasyong ito.

Sana po kaya kong tanggapin na ganoon yung interpretasyon niya pero dineklara pa rin niya (ang mga ito sa SALN) just in case. I would respect him for that. Even if he thinks this is what the law is but for the good of the country he declared it.

Hindi ko rin po matanggap ang interpretasyon niya sa kanyang 80M pesos na deposito na aminado niyang partly hindi niya idineklara (sa kanyang SALN) pero ipinaliwanag lang niya sa pamamagitan ng isang kwento. Wala siyang sinumite na ebidensiya – walang ITR ng mga anak niya, walang resibo, walang mga passbook. Pagkatapos ay sasabihin lang po na i-base sa kanyang credibility.

I’m not saying he’s not credible. But if it were anyone else, if it wasn’t CJ Corona on the stand, tatanggapin ba natin ang sagot na yun?O sasabihin natin: Ano ba ang iyong ebidensya? Especially when the explanation is against human experience.Marami po na may mga edad na sa lipunan na nilalagay sa mga anak ang account nila. Pero tama po na bihira na ang anak ang naglalagay ng pera sa kanila magulang.

Bakit ang isang clerk hindi lamang nagdeklara ng stall sa isang palengke tinaggal na? Bakit ang mahirap kapag nagtago o nagnakaw bawal? Ano ba ang sinasabi natin sa mahirap? Bawal magtago at magnakaw diba?

Bakit sa mayaman bawal magnakaw ng kaunti? Kasi pag nagnakaw ng marami, lahat na ng technicalities, batas at lahat ng pwedeng pang komplika ng sistema para protektahan siya ay kanyang nai-invoke?

Bakit sa mahirap pag nahuli, ang sasabihin sa kanya: sa presinto ka na magpaliwanag? Bakit po kapag mayaman lahat ng lusot, batas, at technicalities available sa kanya?

Sa totoo lang po, napakagaling ng pagpapatakbo ng ating presiding officer sa impeachment na ito. I admire the prosecution, the defense, and my colleagues. But let’s be honest with each other. Apatnapu’t apat na araw, higit sa dalawang daang oras ang ginugol natin sa kasong ito.

Sa totoo lang, kahit sa isang linggo, kaya nating tapusin ito kung inilagay na lang natin sa stand at nagsabi na lang lahat ng totoo sa isa’t isa. At sa tingin ko, kung mahirap ang akusado, nasa presinto at nagpapaliwanag na lamang siya.

Kapag ang isang mahirap, nahulihan ng asawa na may sweet na text sa iba sa kanyang cellphone, ano ang sasabihin niya? “Honey, mis-sent ‘yan,” o kaya ay “Hindi ko cellphone ‘yan”.Kapag ba mayaman kukuha pa ng abogado?Sasabihin mo pa ba, “Honey, hindi ko text ‘yan, text ng iba ‘yan. Nakigamit sa akin. Share kami. In trust ‘yan.Co-mingled text iyan. Kaya hindi sa akin ‘yan.”

Why do we complicate what is so simple? Technicalities should protect the rights of the people. I don’t blame this court for sticking to technicalities because this is supposed to protect the rights of the people. But, somehow in this country, it is being used to protect people who plunder this country.

I remember my law professors in Ateneo school of Law telling us, “If you are strong on the facts, pound on the facts. If you are strong on the law, pound on the law. If you are weak both on the facts and on the law, pound on the table.”

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Pukpukin ang batas, kung doon ka malakas. Pukpukin ang katotohanan, kung doon ka malakas. Pero kung hindi sa pareho, pukpukin na lamang ang lamesa. ‘Yon po ang turo sa ating mga abogado. But to us as a nation, let us pound on the truth, pound on justice. Let us pound on grafters in this country.

Sabi ng iba, mabait si CJ Corona. Sabi ng iba hindi siya notorious sa Supreme Court. Kilala din namin siya at mabigat sa amin ang desisyong ito.

Some describe him as decent. Kaya sabi ng iba sa akin, mag-abstain ka na lang. Kasi kumplikado naman ang batas, kumplikado naman ito. This is my reply to them, with all due respect, “If your client cannot explain, I cannot abstain.”

If you did not disclose, we have to depose. If you are not fit, you cannot sit.

You will have your day in court. You will have your day in media. Ngunit sa impeachment case, ang pinaguusapan po natin ‘yung kabutihan ng ating bansa.

The impeachment court does not simply pass judgment on this specific case, or on this specific Chief Justice. The court action, being far-reaching and precedent-setting, is actually rebuilding a new paradigm of transparency and accountability in public office.

The verdict of this court will affect more than 1.3 million civil or public servants, government employees and officials. It will affect 100 million Filipinos in other countries. It will affect our future. Because transparency and accountability fight corruption. And corruption has a direct co-relation to investments, business, jobs, prices, and the quality of services we give our people.

Ang korupsyon ay may direktang epekto sa presyo, sa kawalan ng trabaho, at sa kita ng bawat mamamayang Pilipino.

I cannot agree with the Chief Justice’s interpretation of the law in his explanation of the P80 million and $2.4 million deposits. However, in signing the waiver that allows the Ombudsman to look into his bank accounts, he has set a new standard.

Bagong pamantayan. Sabihin man na mapalitan na siya, sabihin mo nang lumabas, pumirma pa din siya at isinumite niya ang waiver. We should all follow this standard. Ang pamantayan na ito ay dapat para sa ating lahat. Transparency of bank accounts is good.

I ask the President to instruct his cabinet to sign the waivers or resign and leave government. Lead by following, or get out of the way. Executive, legislative, judiciary. COA, Comelec, BIR, Customs, judges, governors, mayors, barangay captains, congressmen, senators, let us agree on one standard.At least, itong ginawa ni Chief Justice ay maganda. We can agree on safeguards and protection. Hindi naman ibig sabihin ay lahat na lang kakalkalin. Payagan natin ang Ombudsman na kung may kaso o may issue sa inyo, makita niya at tingnan ito. Hindi pang-harass o pang-abuse ito. But all of us should have the same standards.

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The waiver, taken together with the SALN, and if the FOI Law is passed, we will have entered a dawn of transparency and accountability in our country. It will be a new milestone in the Tuwid na Daan.

For myself, gagawin ko po ito. Kapag ako ang inimbestigahan ng Ombudsman, papayag po ako na buksan ang aking accounts. Okay po ako sa waiver. Walang dapat ikatakot kung walang itinatago. Ayaw ko din na hina-harass. Ayaw ko din nang kinukulit. But we don’t have a choice. Kung gusto nating magbago ang bansa, dapat pare-pareho.

Hindi ko makakalimutan ang pag-iyak ng aking ama noong gabing iyon, hindi dahil sa sakit ng tiyan, o dahil ang katawan niya ay unti-unting kinakain ng kanyang sakit. Umiyak siya sa pagmamahal sa kanyang inang bayan, ang bansang Pilipinas.

Nais ko po ng pagbabago. Nawa’y sa desisyon na ito, nakatulong po ako nang kaunti. Masakit man ang proseso, sana makapag-dulot ito ng pagbabago sa ating bansa.

Presume him guilty. Presume him innocent. Give him his day in court. Ascribe to him good faith. Yes, in civil and criminal cases, as well as in the media; but not today, and not in this impeachment court.

Guilty with the penalty of removal from office.”

Speech of Senator Eduardo Escudero:Explaining his verdict on Chief Justice Renato Corona[Delivered on May 29, 2012]

“It is written… “Do not judge lest you be judged, for the measure you measure with will be measured back to you.” (Matthew 7:1-2)

While I do not approve of the manner and way which the House of Representatives initiated, proceeded and handled this impeachment, when they filed the complaint for impeachment before the Senate, the House, in the exercise of its wisdom, determined that non-declaration in one’s SALN is an impeachable offense. Ibig sabihin nito, mula ngayon, pwedeng nang tanggalin sa pwesto ang punong mahistrado pati na rin ang

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pangulo at ikalawang pangulo at iba pang impeachable officers kapag meron silang di dineklara sa kanilang SALN.

Matapos aminin ni Chief Justice Corona na mayroon siyang $2.4M at P80M na hindi niya dineklara sa kanyang SALN, naging simple na lamang po ang kailangan naming pagpasyahan… Ito po ay: Hindi nga ba ito kelangan ideklara dahil sa RA 6426 o FCDU Law? Kung sasang ayon kami sa posisyong ito ni Chief Justice Corona, dapat namin siyang ipawalang sala at kung hindi naman, ay dapat mag-gawad kami ng hatol laban sa kanya.

Ikinalulungkot ko na di ko po masasang-ayunan ang posisyong ito ni Chief Justice Corona. . Para sa akin, maliwanag ang mga batas natin at di ito nagbabanggaan. Ang pinagbabawalan ng FCDU law na mag-release ng impormasyon ukol sa dollar deposits ay ang mga bangko at di ang depositor. Samantala, ang Konstitusyon at R.A. 6713, pinag-uutos na ideklara ng lahat ng opisyal ng pamahalaan ang lahat ng kanilang yaman at pagkakautang. Kung ayaw mo ito ideklara, eh di huwag kang tumakbo para sa, o tumanggap ng anumang, pwesto sa pamahalaan. Subalit kung ikaw ay nasa pamahalaan, kelangan mo itong ideklara.

Dahil dito, mabigat man sa aking kalooban, kailangan kong mag-gawad ng hatol laban kay Chief Justice Corona.

Maging ganoon pa man, nais ko pong batiin muli si Chief Justice Corona dahil, sa kasaysayan ng bansa, siya ang kauna-unahang opisyal ng pamahalaan na nag-execute ng waiver para buksan ang anumang deposito nya sa banko. Sana siya at ang kasong ito ang magsilbing hudyat ng isang bagong simula sa ating bansa. Isang bagong simula kung saan di na pwede ang dating gawi! Panahon na para itaas natin ang pamantayan ng mga naninilbihan sa pamahalaan! At dapat pantay nating ipatupad ito di lamang sa kanya kundi sa ating lahat!… Kahapon, i-sinumite ko sa Senado, pabor sa Ombudsman ang aking waiver upang ilakip sa aking SALN at hinihimok at hinahamon ko ang mga kasamahan ko sa Senado at sa Kongreso na gawin din ito at ipasa natin, sa lalong madaling panahon, ang ini-akda kong Senate Bill 107 na naglalayon na i-require ito sa lahat ng naninilbihan sa pamahalaan. Tulad ng sinabi ko sa aking pambungad na salita, ano man ang panukat na ginamit natin sa pag-husga, siya ring panukat na dapat nating gamitin sa ating mga sarili. Ika nga ni Cong. Farinas, kung di natin pinapalusot si Chief Justice Corona, wag din tayong magpa lusot!

Ito’y hinihiling ko para magkaroon ng saysay, kahulugan at positibong kinahinatnan ang kalbaryong dinaanan ni Chief Justice Corona, ng kanyang pamilya at ng ating bansa bunsod ng impeachment proceeding na ito.

Dalangin ko po na sana agad na magsimula ang paghilum ng pait, sugat at pagkakawatak-watak ng ating bansa. Sana naman, pagkatapos nito ay tama na! Let us move on and move forward. Pag-tuunan na natin ng pansin ang mahahalagang problema sa ating bansa na may kinalaman sa ating ekonomiya at paglagay ng pagkain sa bawat lamesa.

Ano man ang maging hatol ng hukumang ito, I wish you and your family well Mr. Chief Justice. Nawa’y gumaling kayo mula sa inyong karamdaman at patnubayan nawa kayo, at tayong lahat, ng Diyos.”

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Speech of Senator Teofisto Guingona:Explaining his verdict on Chief Justice Renato Corona[Delivered on May 29, 2012]

“Sa paglilitis na ito, ang aking boto ay para sa kasagraduhan at kapangyarihan ng Saligang Batas ng Republika ng Pilipinas.

Mr. President, if there is one thing that our Nation would have learned in this Impeachment Process, it is this: that we must renew our respect for and protect the sanctity and the primacy of the Constitution of our Republic.

Ang ating Saligang Batas ay sagrado – at walang sinumang kapangyarihan sa ating bansa ang mas mataas pa dito.

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Ito ay sagrado – lahat ay dapat sumunod dito ipatupad ito at igalang ito.

Ito ay sagrado – kaya lahat ng lingkod-bayang ibinoto o inappoint sa tungkulin ay pinasusumpa na ito ay itataguyod at ipagtatanggol.

Ang hindi pagsunod, ang hindi pagtupad at ang hindi pagtatanggol sa ating Saligang Batas ay isang malinaw na paglapastangan sa pinakamataas na batas ng ating Republika.

At sa kasong pong ating nilitis, Ginoong Pangulo, pinag-aralan ko ang mga sumusunod: nagkaroon ba ng paglabag at ng paglapastangan sa sagradong Saligang-Batas ng Pilipinas? At kung nagkaroon nga, ang lumabag at lumapastangan ay dapat bang hindi na payagang magpatuloy sa kanyang puwesto at tungkulin?

Inihayag ba ng nasasakdal ang LAHAT ng assets, liabilities at net worth niya bilang pagsunod sa utos ng Saligang Batas? Ang sagot ko: hindi po ginawa.

Nagkaroon ba ng bahid ang kanyang integrity at probity sa panahon ng kanyang panunungkulan sa pinakamataas na korte ng bansa? Ang sagot ko: opo, nagkaroon po ng malaking bahid.Nilabag ba niya ang utos ng Saligang Batas na siya ay dapat maging “accountable to the people” sa lahat ng pagkakataon, at maglingkod nang may “utmost responsibility, integrity and loyalty”? Ang sagot ko: opo, nilabag po.

One action of the accused stood out, Mr. President.

Mula mismo sa mga labi ng nasasakdal, inamin niya na nakadeposito sa iba’t ibang mga bangko ang mga salapi niya na nagkakahalagang walumpung milyong piso at 2.4 million dollars. Pero, nasaan ito sa kanyang sinumpaang statement of assets, liabilities and net worth? Idedeklara lamang ba ito kung kailan gugustuhin ng isang mataas na opisyal? Puwede ba siyang magtago sa likod ng Foreign Currency Deposits Act?

Mr. President, ito ay isang pagbaluktot ng provision ng Constitution. How could one man use the very same constitution which mandates full public disclosure to justify the concealment of millions of dollars in his personal bank accounts?

This is Constitutional Perversion in its ultimate form.

Ginoong Pangulo, sino po ba ang inaasahan ng ating bansa at lipunan para maging pangunahing tagapagtanggol ng Saligang Batas? Hindi po ba’t ang Korte Suprema?

Anong aasahan nating pagtatanggol kung ang mismong pinuno nito ang unang humahanap ng butas na babaluktot dito sa ating Saligang Batas?

Ang Saligang Batas ay sagrado. Anumang paglusot sa mga utos nito; anumang pagbaluktot dito ay paglabag at pambabastos sa pinakamataas na Batas ng bansa.

The Constitution, above all.

Ginoong Pangulo, batay sa ebidensiya; sa mismong mga sinabi at pag-amin ng nasasakdal at bilang pagkilala sa kasagraduhan ng Saligang Batas ng Pilipinas ang hatol ko ay ito:Ang nasasakdal na Punong Mahistrado ng Korte Suprema ay hindi na karapat-dapat sa pagtitiwala ng sambayanang Pilipino.

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Mr. President, I vote to convict the accused Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.”

Speech of Senator Bong Revilla:Explaining his verdict on Chief Justice Renato Corona[Delivered on May 29, 2012]

“Mr. President…

I stand here today in a historic moment when we render judgment not to an ordinary citizen, but to the highest official of our co-equal branch in government, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines.

As the late President Theodore Roosevelt said “A nation must be judged in part by the character of its public men, not merely by their abilities, but their ideals and the measure in which they realize these ideals; by their attitude in real life and much more by their attitude in public life, both as regards their conception of their duties toward their country and their conception of their duty, embodied in its government towards its own people.”

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I have heard all the arguments, considered all pieces of evidence of the prosecution and the defense, and heard directly from the Honorable Chief Justice, himself.

As much as the Chief Justice of the Republic of the Philippines expects and demands, and is worthy of all the respect and considerations due to his office and to his person, he in return has the responsibility to be the epitome of a public servant with the highest ethical standards.

Bilang pinakamataas na mahistrado ng bansang ito, ang kanyang panunungkulan ay dapat walang bahid kahit katiting, dahil sa mandato ng kanyang katungkulan at kahalagahan ng kanyang posisyon.

In the end, I arrived with a conclusion that, through his own direct admission, the Chief Justice failed to properly disclose all of his assets in his SALN. This therefore has necessary consequences that attach to the position he holds in trust.

I prayed hard for Divine Providence and guidance in this one great decision of my life.”

Speech of Senator Juan Ponce Enrile:Explaining his verdict on Chief Justice Renato Corona[Delivered on May 29, 2012]

“In the entire course of this impeachment trial, I have faced many difficult challenges to my own and the Court’s collective wisdom, our sense of justice and fairness, the delicate balancing act we must perform to ensure that we do not stray from the strictures of the Constitution, the law and our rules.

This trial began and unfolded against the backdrop of a highly charged and emotional atmosphere, acrimonious debate in and outside the confines of this Court, and a deep political fissure which threatened the stability of our democratic institutions.

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But the impact of the many events that transpired since December 12 last year to this very day, taken altogether, cannot compare to the sense of heaviness that I feel at this very moment.

The culmination of this national drama is at hand, and the time has come for me to render judgment on the person before whom I took my Oath of Office as a Senator of the Republic…no less than the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Renato C. Corona.

The Respondent Chief Justice and his family understandably feel deeply hurt, pained and aggrieved.

As a lawyer, I must confess that I was personally frustrated by the loose and hasty crafting and preparation that characterized the presentation of the charges contained in the Articles of Impeachment. It seemed that the case was being built up only after the charges were actually filed. The repeated recourse to this Court’s compulsory processes to obtain evidence which normally should have formed the factual basis of the charges in the first place further burdened and, at times, taxed the patience of this Court.

We have witnessed with disdain the indiscriminate, deliberate and illegal machinations of some parties who have been less than forthright with this Court in presenting dubiously procured and misleading documents which were spread to the media obviously to influence this Court’s and the public’s opinion.

The letter of the Administrator of the Land Registration Authority which contained, as an attachment, a list of 45 properties supposedly owned by the Respondent Chief Justice, was fed to the media even before we could begin the actual trial of this case.Even before the Hon. Ombudsman, Conchita Carpio Morales, was called to testify before this Court, her letter to the Chief Justice requiring him to explain in 72 hours an alleged aggregate amount of US$10M in several dollar accounts was leaked to the media right before the resumption of this trial last May 7.

We have sternly cautioned against unethical and unprofessional conduct, the penchant to engage in trial by publicity, to use the media to disseminate and advance so called “information” or “evidence”, to provoke and disrespect this Court and its members, and to irresponsibly hurl disparaging insinuations and accusations.

We have tried to impress upon everyone who may be similarly motivated and inclined to test our will that this Court means serious business and would not succumb to nor allow such underhanded tactics and gimmickry to deter us from our task.

Prudence and justice dictate that in determining the guilt or innocence of the Chief Justice, we must try our best to confine ourselves to the pieces of testimonial and documentary evidence that have been presented to this Court, to pass upon their relevance, and to measure and weigh their value in the light of the charges before us.

After all the accusations levelled against the Chief Justice  -  eight (8) charges in all comprising the Articles of Impeachment  -  the Prosecution chose to present evidence only on three Articles (Articles II, III and VII), and abruptly rested its case.

I have always believed that of these three, the case for the Prosecution and the Defense will rise or fall on Article II, which is the subject of this vote.

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This Court, at one point, had extensive discussions and differences of opinion, to be sure, regarding the charge contained in Paragraph 2.4 of Article II that the Chief Justice was “suspected and accused of having accumulated ill-gotten wealth, acquiring assets of high values and keepingbank accounts with huge deposits”.

We ruled to disallow the introduction of evidence in support of Par. 2.4 which, to this day, I strongly maintain was an invalid charge, it being based on mere “suspicion”, on so-called “reports”, rather than on factual allegations.

The Defense and the Chief Justice himself somehow revived this issue of the nature of his assets by introducing evidence to prove that his income and assets were legitimate, and by testimony to show how he and his wife had saved and invested these savings in foreign currency over so many decades.I wish to reiterate, for the record, that the Chief Justice does not stand accused of having amassed any ill-gotten wealth before this Impeachment Court.

Paragraph 2.2 of Article II of the Articles of Impeachment accuses the Respondent Chief Justice of failing to disclose to the public his statement of assets, liabilities and net worth as required by the Constitution.

I submit that the Chief Justice had justifiable and legal grounds to rely on the Supreme Court’s procedural and policy guidelines governing such disclosures as embodied in a Resolution promulgated way back in 1989 when the Respondent was not yet a Member of the Supreme Court.

Under the said guidelines, the Clerk of Court of the Supreme Court, who is the repository of the SALN’s submitted by all the Members of the Supreme Court, may furnish copies of the SALN’s in his or her custody to any person upon request, and upon showing that there is a legitimate reason for the same.

The Constitution, in Article XI, Sec. 17, states that “in the case of the President, the Vice-President, the Members of the Supreme Court, the Constitutional Commissions and other constitutional offices, and offices ofthe armed forces with general or flag rank, the declaration shall be disclosed to the public in the manner provided by law”.

R.A. 6713, known as the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees, recognizes the public’s right to information on the assets, liabilities, net worth, financial and business interests of public servants. But it likewise declares it unlawful for any person “to obtain or use the same for purposes contrary to morals or public policy or for any commercial purpose other than by news and communications media for dissemination to the general public”.

Whether the said guidelines violate the letter and spirit of R.A. 6713 and the principle of public accountability is not for this Court to pass upon. I grant that the Chief Justice believed in good faith that after periodically filing his sworn Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth, the guidelines issued by the Supreme Court were sufficient to allow the Clerk of Court to comply with the Constitution and the law.

We cannot ignore the fact that the failure or refusal, particularly of public officials in high government positions, to provide the public or the media with copies of the SALN’s,  continues to be a raging issue to this day. In fact, some, if not most of the members of the Prosecution panel itself, the Members of the Supreme Court, members of Congress and

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other high officials of the government have been challenged by media organizations to make their SALN’s available to the public and to the media.

Paragraph 2.3 of Article II further accuses the Respondent Chief Justice, based on “reports”, of not including some properties in his declaration of his assets, liabilities, and net worth, in violation of the anti-graft and corrupt practices act.The Prosecution, based on the list it procured from the LRA, claims that the Chief Justice owned and failed to fully disclose in his SALN 45 real estate assets. Based on the evidence, I am convinced that the Defense has presented credible evidence to refute this charge and to explain the exclusion in the Respondent Chief Justice’s SALN’s of certain properties which have either been sold or legally transferred, properties which are actually owned by his children and/or third parties, and properties which were never owned by the Respondent in the first place.I am likewise convinced that the Defense has sufficiently established that there was no ill intention on the part of the Respondent to understate or misrepresent the value of his real properties.

Proceeding now to the most significant charge involving the non-disclosure of the Respondent Chief Justice’s cash assets, the Ombudsman, at the instance of the Defense, testified with a presentation of a report from the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC), showing 82 bank accounts allegedly belonging to the Respondent.

She further testified that based on her analysis of the report, aided by the Commission on Audit, the Chief Justice had cash assets in the examined bank accounts of anywhere from US$10 Million to US$ 12 Million.

Even if we grant the existence of these 82 accounts, the amount of deposits corresponding to each of these could not just easily, fairly or logically be summed up to arrive at exactly how much cash assets or deposits, in actuality and in totality, the Respondent Chief Justice had or has at any given point in time.

Hence, the Ombudsman’s reference to a “transactional balance” of about US$12 Million should not mislead this Court in its appreciation of the facts.

Regrettably, both the Prosecution and the Defense panels decided not to present the concerned bank officers or the AMLC to ascertain the veracity of the data allegedly provided by the AMLC to the Office of the Ombudsman, despite the Respondent’s submission to this Court of a written waiver to cause the opening of all his bank accounts.

Laudable as this belated act on the part of the Respondent Chief Justice may be, it would have served him better if he had just presented bank documents as evidence to either confirm or refute the documents showing his bank transactions as presented by the Ombudsman.

It has not escaped this Presiding Officer that initially, last May 22nd to be exact, before he walked out of the halls of this Court, the Chief Justice signed the said waiver in open court but made the release of the same conditional, that is, after all the 188 signatories to the Articles of Impeachment and Senator-Judge Franklin Drilon have signed a similar waiver. It was only during the hearing last May 25 that the Chief Justice decided to submit the waiver to the Court without any conditions.

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Moreover, even as the Chief Justice had full access to his own bank accounts and all the opportunity to introduce evidence to disprove the data, findings and analysis presented by the Ombudsman or the report of the AMLC, the Defense did not introduce any such evidence.As it is, the Impeachment Court could only rely on the documents supplied by the Ombudsman which show the Respondent’s bank transactions but which do not show the actual bank balances of Respondent’s bank accounts.

Instead, the Defense presented the Chief Justice himself as its last witness and pleaded for the Court’s permission to allow the Respondent to deliver an “opening statement”.

This Court, out of courtesy to the Chief Justice, decided to extend its understanding and to exercise liberality in granting the request.

The long narration, where the Chief Justice touched on a wide range of issues, assertions of facts, accusations, opinions and personal sentiments, which the Respondent said he found necessary to narrate in order to clear his and his family’s name, was later adopted by the Defense as the direct testimony of the Respondent. The Prosecution, on the other hand, waived its right to cross-examine the Chief Justice, provided the Defense would not conduct any further direct examination.

Nevertheless, the Respondent Chief Justice testified and admitted, in answer to questions from a member of this Court, that he had around P80 Million in 3 Peso accounts and US$2.4 Million in 4 US Dollar accounts, but that he had purposely not declared these assets for 2 reasons:  (1) That his Peso accounts represented “co-mingled funds”, and (2) That he was not required to report or declare his foreign currency deposits in his SALN because they were absolutely confidential under R.A. 6426.

I disagree on both counts.

If, indeed, any of the Respondent’s cash deposits were co-mingled with the funds belonging to other parties such as the Basa Guidote Enterprises, Inc. (BGEI) or his children, the Respondent was still duty bound to declare these deposits in his SALN, they being admittedly under his name.

The evidence is devoid of any indication that the Chief Justice was holding these funds in trust for or that they were actually beneficially owned by any one other than himself or his wife.Assuming that any part of such deposits in truth belonged to third parties, the Respondent could have indicated such third-party funds as corresponding liabilities in his SALN. That would have reflected his real net worth.

With all due respect, I believe that the Respondent Chief Justice’s reliance on the absolute confidentiality accorded to foreign currency deposits under Section 8 of Republic Act No. 6426 is grossly misplaced.

The Constitution, in Article XI, Sec. 17, provides that “A public officer or employee shall, upon assumption of office and as often as may be required by law, submit a declaration under oath of his assets, liabilities and net worth. x x x ”

Are we now to say that this Constitutional command is limited to a public official’s assets or deposits in local currency? If so, would we not be saying, in effect, that the Constitution allows something less than a full, honest and complete disclosure?

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It bears noting that the prescribed form of the SALN quite simply requires public officers and employees to declare their assets, real and personal, the latter to include cash and bank deposits, bonds, etc. It does not require the public officer or employee to indicate whether or not he or she has foreign currency notes or deposits. Neither does it require details such as account numbers, account names, bank identity nor any branch address. All that it requires is a declaration of the total amount of the funds deposited in any bank account or accounts maintained by the public official or employee concerned.

Surely, the Chief Justice knows the equivalent value in local currency of his foreign currency deposits to be able to declare the same as part of his assets, especially since the aggregate amount of these foreign currency deposits, by his own account, amounts to US$2.4 Million.

The non-disclosure of these deposits, in both local and foreign currency, would naturally result in a corresponding distortion of the Chief Justice’s real net worth.

Consistent with the position taken by this Court in the case filed by the Philippine Savings Bank before the Supreme Court last February, pursuant to which the Supreme Court issued a Temporary Restraining Order, I maintain that the Constitutional principle of public accountability overrides the absolute confidentiality of foreign currency deposits.

The provisions of R.A. 6426 cannot be interpreted as an exception to the unequivocal command and tenor of Article XI, Sec. 17, of the 1987 Constitution, and I regret that the Highest Magistrate of the land, no less, would think otherwise.

Section 8 of R.A. 6426 provides that except with the written permission of the depositor, “in no instance shall foreign currency deposits be examined, inquired or looked into by any person, government official, bureau or office whether judicial or administrative or legislative or any other entity whether public or private.”

The so-called conflict of laws between R.A. Nos. 6713 and 6426 is more illusory than real.  Section 8 of R.A. No. 6426 merely prohibits the examination, inquiry or looking into a foreign currency deposit account by an entity or person other than the depositor himself. But there is nothing in R.A. No. 6426 which prohibits the depositor from making a declaration on his own of such foreign currency funds, especially in this case where the Constitution mandates the depositor who is a public officer to declare all assets under oath.

Some have raised the question:  Why should the Chief Justice be held accountable for an offense which many, if not most others in Government are guilty of, perhaps even more than he is? They say that hardly anyone declares his true net worth anyway.

Here lies what many have posited as a moral dilemma.  I believe it is our duty to resolve this “dilemma” in favor of upholding the law and sound public policy. If we were to agree with the Respondent that he was correct in not disclosing the value of his foreign currency deposits because they are absolutely confidential, can we ever expect any SALN to be filed by public officials from hereon to be more accurate and true than they are today?

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I am not oblivious to the possible political repercussions of the final verdict we are called upon to render today. I am deeply concerned that the people may just so easily ignore, forget, if not completely miss out, the hard lessons we all must learn from this episode, instead of grow and mature as citizens of a democratic nation.

Those whose intentions and motivations may be farthest from the lofty ideals of truth and justice are wont to feast upon this man’s downfall should this Court render a guilty verdict.

I am equally aware of the tremendous pressure weighing heavily upon all the members of this Court as we had to come to a decision on this case, one way or the other.

But to render a just verdict according to my best lights and my own conscience is a sacred duty that I have sworn to perform.

As one who has been through many personal upheavals through all of my 88 years, I, too, have been judged, often unfairly and harshly. But I have constantly held that those who face the judgment of imperfect and fallible mortals like us have recourse to the judgment of history, and, ultimately, of God.

And so, with full trust that the Almighty will see us through the aftermath of this chapter in our nation’s history, I vote to hold the Chief Justice, Renato C. Corona, GUILTY as charged under Article II, Par. 2.3, and that his deliberate act of excluding substantial assets from his sworn Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth constitutes a culpable violation of the Constitution.