Impeachment trial ‘ruled by the old’-A A +A
Monday, January 30, 2012
WITH a presiding senator-judge (Juan Ponce Enrile), 87, who lectures on court procedure; a chief defense lawyer (Serafin Cuevas), 83, who instructs as he stalls prosecutors’ moves; and a senator-judge (Miriam Defensor-Santiago), 66, who screams at litigators for not knowing the law and not keeping quiet when she “elucidates,” what kind of impeachment trial do we have?
The process that decides whether Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona must be stripped of office and dignity appears to be dominated by lawyers past their prime.
A country that’s tough on the old usually doesn’t have REDs (filmland’s short for retired and dangerous) who produce the sensible noise and star-bright light in court.
Enrile, Cuevas, and Santiago are among the most skilled litigators/judges there are.
Aged, yet they help enlighten the public more than most others at the Senate, who talk little or are in mute mode. Age isn’t a handicap at the trial; no one’s decrepit or doddering.
But a lawyer or witness humiliated in an outburst may blame old age and its ills. Not in their faces or to media though. That would be politically incorrect and hardly defensible.
(To squelch the age issue, Republican presidential aspirant Ron Paul, 76, in a US primary debate last Friday dared rivals to a 25-mile bike race any hot Texas day.)
Prosecutors ask for flexible or liberal interpretation of rules after trial watchers called the battle lopsided and the House team ill-prepared.
But House lawyers don’t gripe about older folk unleashing “terror.” Imagine prosecutor Arthur Lim telling Santiago to pipe down and take a hike.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 30, 2012.