Local personalities underline lessons-A A +A
Wednesday, May 30, 2012
DABAWENYOS welcomed Tuesday the verdict handed by 20 of the 23 senator judges who found Chief Justice Renato Corona guilty of betraying public trust and committing culpable violation of the Constitution.
But beyond just the guilty verdict, majority of those asked for their reactions focused on the lessons that the Filipino people should learn from this.
"One important lesson the impeachment trial teaches us is that there is a more effective approach in initiating efforts to file an impeachment complaint, that is by filing it with the Ombudsman so that a fact finding inquiry/case build-up be conducted by the Ombudsman to secure evidence needed to establish probable cause before the complaint is filed with the House of Representatives," said Regional State Prosecutor Antonio Arellano.
First District Rep. Karlo B. Nograles said while he only hopes the Senate decision will put a closure to this case, people should bring the lessons learned with them.
"This impeachment trial demonstrated the vibrancy of our democracy and reminds us about the hard and unimpeachable fact about public service -- that power and position are all temporary and borrowed from the people. In the end, we all serve at the pleasure of the Filipino. I just hope and pray that after this, our country will be united once again by the single objective of rebuilding our nation in accordance with the will of our people," Nograles said.
Compostela Valley Representative Maricar Zamora-Apsay, for her part described the guilty verdict as "one of the biggest boosts in our collective campaign to fight corruption, and to make lawbreakers accountable for their crimes against the nation."
"We call on everyone to respect the ruling but likewise remain vigilant, never letting down our guard, as we continue the battle for justice, progress and dignity, in line with the thrusts of the present administration which we will continue to fully support," Zamora-Apsay said.
Both pro and con
Other reactions are:
"The respondent was given the full opportunity to present his defense and despite such he was convicted by the Senate which the 1987 Constitution arrogates the sole power to try and decide impeachment cases. Hence, it follows that the people, most especially the lawyers, have to abide and respect the decision that the Senate rendered not only because it is the verdict of the persons elected and empowered by the people to try and decide impeachable cases but also because it is the mandate of the prime law of the land upon which all laws must conform. We must therefore move on and continue to build a better nation - one that is always cognizant of due process and the rule of law!" -- Atty. Israelito Torreon
"The decision reflected the decision of the people as Chief Justice must be trusted. He was dishonest hence guilty 20 senators have the same idea in impeachable offense." -- Atty. V. Emmanuel Fontanilla
"They voted as a quasi-political body and disregarded their quasi-judicial character." -- Atty. Heracleo Malaki III
"It's finished... consummatum est! Goodbye Corona, you can now join Gloria in jail! CJ can now be prosecuted civilly and criminally. He will be held accountable for his acts while in public office but, beyond that, from now on a new standard for public accountability is set. Beyond his conviction and removal, we must now run after the others in the government who are also equally unfit to serve like CJ Corona." -- Atty. Karlos Yzagani Zarate, secretary general of Union of People's Lawyers in Mindanao
"While we continue to take exceptions to the manner the impeachment was carried out in the House of Representatives, we found the proceedings in the senate as fair and credible. As advocate of the rule of law, the IBP submits to the judgment of being consistent with the Rule of Law. We call on the President to lead in the healing process and unify the nation and the deed wounds and divisive effects of the impeachment trial." -- Atty. Roan Libarios, president of Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP)
"It was clear that he did not declare his SALN (statement of assets, liabilities and net worth) as truthfully as he should have. It is a landmark decision. It will augur well for the campaign against graft and corruption in our country. Mabuhay ang Pilipinas." -- Leo Avila III, chief of Davao City Ariculturist Office
"I salute the senator judges. It was a fair judgment." -- Compostela Valley Governor Arturo Uy
"I think the Supreme Law of the land has given the impeachment court the power to resolve the charge against CJ Corona. That being the case their ruling against CJ Corona will have to be respected." -- Atty. Lyndon Yap
"The Senate acting as impeachment court has decided. We should respect its decision. Obviously they anchored their decision on the admission of CJ Corona. Now let's move on." -- Atty. Jonathan Jocom, IBP Davao City chapter president
"In my own opinion, most of them who voted for conviction rendered subjective judgment and not objective. Basing on personal attachments against Corona." -- Kathy Klye Tupas, Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc. media relations officer
"I pity our country, but somehow the decision is righteous. I'm still hopeful with this historical event that people will respond positively, especially to our dearest state actors and actresses, the least that we can do is to do good things." -- Prime Deles, executive director of Mindaoan Youth Development Center (MYDC)
"Tama lang kasi nawalan na siya ng credibility or equated ultimately to public trust." -- Brigadier General Ariel B. Bernardo, chief of the 10th Infantry Division and chair of the Government Coordinating Committee on Cessation of Hostilities (CCCH).
"He should be convicted. But this doesn't mean the Aquino government is leading us to a transparent government. He has to prosecute CJ Corona's boss -- former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. We challenged the Aquino government to resolve people's issues." -- Sheena Duazo, secretary general of the Kadamay.
"The verdict is just and right." Senior Inspector Ranulfo Cabañog, case tracker team leader of the Davao City Police Office (DCPO).
"Happy." -- Senior Superintendent Ronald dela Rosa, chief Davao City Police Office
"CJ Corona has never been transparent on his SALN. He has used his position as public official for private gains as shown by his questionable wealth. For that he is accountable. Impeachment is a public accountability mechanism and the conviction verdict is reasonable. Next step should be the speedy prosecution of CJ Corona and his master former President Arroyo." -- Francis Morales, secretary general of the Panalipdan Southern Mindanao
"Let us respect the findings of the Senate." -- Inspector Rodolfo I. Urbano, regional deputy team leader of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG).
"Corona's conviction is a major, major victory for the people's continuing fight for justice and greater transparency and accountability in government. We congratulate the prosecution for a job well done and commend the senators for their fairness. From now on, all government officials will have to properly accomplish and disclosure their SALN to the public, dollar accounts included, under of impeachment or prosecution. The next step is to ensure that proper charges are filed in court. More importantly, it cannot be business as usual after this. The same standards of transparency and accountability imposed Corona should now apply to all public officials starting with the president down to the barangay officials. The prosecution of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo should also be hastened by this development." -- Bayan Muna Representative Teddy Casino
"It was a fair trial. Very clear ang judgement on Article 2 about the SALN." -- Senior Inspector Leonardo Pamplona, deputy chief of the Davao City Police Office's Investigation and Detection Managment Branch (DCPO-IDMB)
"Let us respect the decision and move on." -- Commodore Philip L. Cacayan, chief of the Naval Forces Eastern Mindanao
"We are also for his conviction. But beyond the SALN mis-declaration, it is his being the main protector of the Arroyo Family in the Supreme Court. But we warn the Aquino administration against replacing the Arroyo court by an Aquino court. The Supreme Court must show integrity, pro-people stance and independence with other branches of the government." -- Elenito Escalante, chairperson of the Kahugpungan sa mga Magtutudlo ug Kawani sa Edukasyon sa Mindanao-Alliance of Concerned Teachers (Kamkem-Act).
"It's forgone conclusion that he will go down eventually. What was most interesting is the information campaign that happened outside of the Impeachment Court. I think it's the reason why Mr. Corona did a miscalculation and admitted his bank deposits and grossly misinterpreted the laws to justify his alibi of not declaring his true SALN. Let's move on from here on. There are more important concerns that need to be addressed by our government leaders and legislators. Truth Conquers!" -- Colonel Leopoldo Galon Jr. of Eastern Mindanao Command (Eastmincom)
"Based on the evidences presented, it's very clear that CJ Corona violated the law by not declaring all his assets on SALN, I'm satisfied with the verdict and democratic process was followed," -- Superintendent Marcial Magistrado, spokesperson for the Police Regional Office
More than two-thirds
At least two-thirds of the Senate membership or 16 votes are needed to convict Corona, while only eight votes to acquit him. Twenty-three senators, including Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, handed down their verdict Tuesday.
Corona, with the majority vote, can no longer appeal the decision of the tribunal. This is contrary to the statement of defense lead counsel Serafin Cuevas on Sunday that Corona’s camp is planning to bring the case to the Supreme Court if Corona is convicted.
The decision Tuesday all boiled down to the arguments presented by the defense and prosecution panels on Article 2 – Corona’s non-disclosure of his assets and net worth.
In Article 2, Corona was accused of deliberately concealing some properties and cash deposits in the SALN since his appointment as magistrate in 2002.
It was the center of the debate between the prosecution and the defense for months as both camps exchanged views whether non-disclosure of dollar accounts and commingled peso funds are enough to kick out an impeachable official such as High Court justices.
The tribunal also passed the guilty verdict based on arguments on Articles 3 and 7 that accused the Chief Justice of losing his neutrality by discussing cases with litigants and for flip-flopping in some final and executory cases, and his supposed partiality toward former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo when he led the Supreme Court last November to allow his ex-boss seek medical treatment abroad, respectively.
The 20 senator-judges who voted for Corona's conviction are Edgardo Angara, Alan Peter Cayetano, Pia Cayetano, Franklin Drilon, Francis Escudero, Jinggoy Estrada, Teofisto Guingona III, Gregorio Honasan II, Panfilo Lacson, Manuel Lapid, Loren Legarda, Sergio Osmeña III, Kiko Pangilinan, Aquilino Pimentel III, Ralph Recto, Ramon Revilla Jr., Antonio Trillanes IV, Manny Villar and Juan Ponce Enrile.
Those who found Corona not guilty were Joker P. Arroyo, Miriam Defensor Santiago, and Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.
Corona is the first public official to be handed down a judgment by the impeachment tribunal after 43 trial days. (Pooled reports from Ivy C. Tejano, Antonio L. Colina IV, Jereco O. Palomo, Arianne Caryl N. Casas, Ben O. Tesiorna and Sunnex)
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on May 30, 2012.