Philippines: Chief Justice Renato Corona Impeachment trial background
In the Philippines on Monday the topic will be one thing everyone is talking about the Impeachment Trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona. To many who will be watching it on Television or looking online for updates and information there will be a lot said and reported.
But so far aside from the relatively slanted coverage online from partisan bloggers. Also those on either side of the discussion. Either for or against the basic information is not to well provided in a fair and balanced review of the topic at hand. Some media groups have taken sides – as expected – others are pegging themselves to one faction or group also expected.
So what is it all about. This entry hopes to provide basic information – and look at the process of the trial and issues presented on the eve of the case itself being heard before the Senate at 2pm on Monday the 16th of January 2012 the trail starts.
WHAT IS IMPEACHMENT:
Impeachment is a formal process in which an official is accused of unlawful activity, the outcome of which, depending on the country, may include the removal of that official from office as well as other punishment.
The word “impeachment” derives from Latin roots expressing the idea of becoming caught or entrapped, and has analogues in the modern French verb empêcher (to prevent) and the modern English impede. Medieval popular etymology also associated it (wrongly) with derivations from the Latin impetere (to attack). (In its more frequent and more technical usage, impeachment of a person in the role of a witness is the act of challenging the honesty or credibility of that person.)
8 Articles of Impeachment
1. Undue compliance to President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo
SC ruling Mega-Pacific contract canceled for not undergoing public bidding (JRC disagreed) SC ruling Dismissed petition to disqualify Fernando Poe JR. (JRC disagreed) SC ruling Dismissed the case for failing to comply with constitutional requirements of conducting a people’s initiative (JRC disagreed)
SC proclamation is partly legal and partly constitutional, party unconstitutional (JRC sided with Justice Tinga)
SC: Neri not liable for contempt for not appearing in senate hearings on NBN-ZTE deal which was linked to Arroyo and her spouse, because his testimony is covered by executive privilege (JRC agreed)
2. Non-Disclosure of assets
Undisclosed property at the Fort: It has been reported that respondent has among others is a 300 sq. meter apartment in a posh Mega World Property development at the Fort Taguig area
3. Wife’s government post
Undue closeness to Macapagal Arroyo as shown by the appointment of the Chief Justice’s wife to a seat in the bases conversion and development authority (BCDA).
Judges shall not allow family, social, or other relationships to influence judicial conduct or judgment. The prestige of judicial office shall not be used or lent to advance the private interests of others, nor convey or permit others to convey impressions that they are in a special position to influence the judge.
4. Suspended hearing for OMG
Betrayal of public trust and culpable violation of the Constitution when he issued a status quo order ante that had suspended the hearings of the House justice committee on the impeachment case against previous ombudsman Merceditas gutierrez
5. Voting on cityhood cases and the creation of the province of Dinagat
6. Improper investigation
Creation of the ethics committee to look into the plagiarism case against SC justice Mariano del Castillo which resulted in clearing Del Castillo of any liability
Plagiarism was committed by Associate Justice Del Castillo with a case concerning the Philippine Government’s claims to the Japanese Government regarding rape and abuse of the Filipino Comfort women during WW2
In a move to protect Justice Castillo, JRC formed an Ethics Committee that decided if Castillo Was guilty of the allegations. This is a violation of the Constitution because only the House of Representatives has the authority to make impeachable officers accountable.
7. TRO on GMA’s travel ban
A TRO is an injucntion. A form of court order that requires either side of an ongoing case to do or refrain from doing certain acts
In the case of GMA, the DOJ issued a hold departure order to the Arroyo couple with relation toseveral criminal charges against them, to which the SC granted the arroyo couple a TRO to be able to leave the country.
The consolidation of two petition in one – The SC excessively extended the benefit of GMA’s health needs to her spouse though merging their separate request for a TRO into one.
Inconsistencies and questions of urgency and sincerity with GMA’s request to leave the Philippines
“It seems incongruous for petitioner who has asked the department of justice and this court to look with humanitarian concern on her precarious state of health. To attend these meeting and conferences at the risk of worsening her physical condition”
8. Vagueness on funds
Refusal to account for judicial development funds, special allowances and other court collections
Aside from the provision under the National Budget, the Supreme Court has a separate independent source of income through collecting docket fees from litigant filing
The Special allowance for the judiciary and the basic legal fees are part of a trust fund, the judicial development fund(JDF)
The JDF is used to increase the subsidies of the employees of the judiciary to safeguard their independence in their leadership of justice and is also used for acquisitions, operations and maintenance of office equipment and facilities.
JRC allegedly failed and withheld the status of the JDF funds and SAJ collections to the Department of Treasury, amounting to P5.38 Billion Violation of the policy of transparency, accountability and good governance.
Source: A Primer on Chief Justice Corona’s Impeachment Case
WHO IS CHIEF JUSTICE CORONA:
Presidential counsel and deputy executive secretary to Pres. Ramos
1998 – Chief of staff & spokesperson of VPGMA
2001 – Presidential chief of staff of PGMA
2002 – Appointed as an associate of the SC in 2002 by PGMA
2010 – 23rd chief justice of the SC by PGMA
Associate Justice Renato C. Corona, one of the youngest magistrates ever to be appointed to the Supreme Court of the Philippines, was appointed to the highest tribunal on April 9, 2002. His age notwithstanding, he brings with him depth and perspective gained from many years of experience as a law professor, private law practitioner and member of the Cabinet under two Presidents, Fidel V. Ramos and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Justice Corona had a sterling record as a student. He graduated with gold medal honors from the Ateneo de Manila grade school in 1962 and high school in 1966. He obtained his Bachelor of Arts degree, also with honors, from the Ateneo de Manila University in 1970. It was here where he honed his skills in writing and argumentation, the indispensable tools for writing decisions with clarity, persuasion and sagacity. He was the editor-in-chief of The Guidon, the university student newspaper of the Ateneo and was secretary-general of the College Editors Guild of the Philippines from 1968 to 1970. He was also the captain of the overall champion team of the 1970 Annual Debating Tournament of the Ateneo School of Arts and Sciences.
Justice Corona finished his Bachelor of Laws at the Ateneo Law School in 1974. Having married right after college, he held a full-time job in the Office of the Executive Secretary in Malacañang Palace while attending night classes in law school. Despite the heavy demands of work and family, however, he was a consistent honor student, graduating no. 5 in his class. That same year, he placed 25th highest out of 1,965 candidates in the bar examinations.
After law school, he pursued the Master of Business Administration course (without thesis) at the Ateneo Professional Schools. In 1981, he was accepted to the Master of Laws program in Harvard Law School where he focused on foreign investment policies and the regulation of corporate and financial institutions. He was conferred the LL.M. degree by Harvard Law School in 1982.
As a young lawyer, Justice Corona served as special counsel at the Development Bank of the Philippines. He later became senior vice-president and general counsel of the Commercial Bank of Manila and later, a senior officer of the Tax and Corporate Counseling Group of the Tax Division of Sycip Gorres and Velayo (SGV & Co.).
In 1992, he was invited to join the administration of then President Fidel V. Ramos as Assistant Executive Secretary for legal affairs, concurrently head of the Malacañang Legal Office. In 1994, he was promoted to Deputy Executive Secretary and later Presidential Legal Counsel and member of the Cabinet.
While serving in Malacañang during the Ramos Administration, he earned the rare distinction of having solved the perennial backlog of cases in the Legal Office. As head of that critical agency, he not only served as one of the President’s legal advisers but also wrote decisions and recommendations which showed an insightful and exceptional understanding of legal issues, as well as a mastery of the diverse options for resolving them.
As legal counsel to President Ramos, then Secretary Corona held, in concurrent capacity, the positions of Vice-Chairman of the Presidential Anti-Crime Commission; member of the Presidential Committee on Bail, Release and Pardon, the Cabinet Consultative Committee on the Government of the Republic of the Philippines- National Democratic Front (GRP-NDF) Peace Talks, and the Cabinet Committee on National Security. He likewise chaired the Appeals Committee of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) as well as various other presidential committees.
Committed to the principles of integrity, decency and simplicity, Justice Corona and his accomplishments in the public service have merited public recognition. He was honored with a special award by the Harvard University/Kennedy School of Government Alumni Association. In 1998, then President Ramos awarded him the distinctive Philippine Legion of Honor medal with the rank of officer.
After the term of President Ramos ended in 1998, he was invited by then Vice-President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to become her chief of staff and spokesman. It was in that capacity that he became deeply involved in the burning political issues of the day and, when Arroyo assumed the presidency on January 20, 2001, he played a crucial role in the new administration as Presidential Chief of Staff, Presidential Spokesman and later as Acting Executive Secretary.
A legal scholar at heart, he served as a member of the faculty of the Ateneo Law School for 17 years, teaching Commercial Law, Taxation and Corporation Law, the same subjects that became the focus of his many articles and columns in several newspapers. He also wrote for the Ateneo Law Journal. Justice Corona is currently finishing his doctoral studies in civil law at the University of Santo Tomas where he was given the award of Most Outstanding Graduate School Student.
His competence in the field of law is recognized in the Philippines and abroad. In 2006, he was conferred the degree of Doctor of Laws honoris causa by the University of Batangas for his “legal scholarship, professional integrity and judicial independence.” In 2007, he was again honored with another Doctor of Laws honoris causa degree, this time by the University of Cebu. He has lectured in and presented scholarly papers before several international law conferences and seminars, the latest of which were the 9th General Assembly of the Asean Law Association in Bangkok, Thailand and the interregional meeting of a multidisciplinary group of experts on the role of sanctions in ensuring better respect for international humanitarian law, sponsored by the International Committee of the Red Cross in Geneva, Switzerland.
In 2004, the Province of Batangas conferred on him the Dangal ng Batangan award, the highest and coveted honor reserved by the province for its distinguished sons and daughters. And in 2005, he was chosen as one of the Outstanding Manilans by the capital City of Manila.
At present, the only two organizations he has limited his active participation in are the Harvard Law School Association of the Philippines (where he sits as a member of the Board of Trustees) and the Ateneo Law Alumni Association (of which he was once Chairman).
His judicial philosophy is centered on his commitment to uphold the Constitution and the law in order that the rights of every man, woman and child are protected and enhanced. When the voice of the weak and the oppressed is inaudible and unheeded, he believes that every effort must be exerted to provide them a forum where they can be heard and their rights recognized.
His personal advocacies include the formation of strong moral and ethical values in the legal profession, specially among the young lawyers. He is deeply committed to the cause of protecting and helping oppressed and abused street-children, and the rehabilitation of former inmates as useful members of society.
Born on October 15, 1948 in Tanauan City, Batangas, the self-effacing and hard-working Justice Corona is married to the former Cristina Roco. They are blessed with three grown-up children, all professionals and graduates of the Ateneo de Manila University and the University of the Philippines.
He is the proud and doting “Grandpa” to the jewels of his life — Franco, Santino, Anika, Katrina, Natalia and Caia.
THE LEGAL PANELS
In any case it is often the Legal team on each side that makes a major difference in cases presented before a court, grand jury, or, panel of Judges like is the case in the Senate sitting as a tribunal. The Senator Judges will sit and vote in judgement at the end of the day and review the case on legal merits.
While there is a political aspect of the impeachment cases – no Senator Judge – will likely ignore any case evidence that might impair the impariality of the institution they represent and the process as a whole. It is just the start of the case to be heard in formal trial and while the panel will likely convene based on past impeachment cases I have covered one will likely see the pace of the trial on the first day,
It will be interesting to watch the process and how it will go. Here is the panel of defenders and the prosecution to be at the hearings and whose legal arguments will be the basis for the trials actions.
DEFENSE PANEL : Chief Justice Renato Corona
Serafin Cuevas Associate Justice Serafin R. Cuevas Tenure: June 01, 1984 – April 16, 1986
Birthdate: June 25, 1928 Place of Birth: Bacoor, Cavite Education: Elementary : Las Piñas Elementary School Secondary : University of Manila Bachelor of Laws, University of the Philippines, 1952 Passed the Bar exam, 1952 Professional Career: Professorial Lecturer, College of Law, University of the Philippines, Institute of Law, Far Eastern University Assistant Fiscal of the City of Manila Judge, Court of First Instance Associate Justice, Intermediate Appellate Court Associate Justice, Supreme Court, May 31, 1984 Notes: Served as Justice Secretary of Estrada. A known Lawyer of INC
Jacinto “Jack” Jimenez
Bachelor of Arts (Cum Laude), Ateneo de Manila – 1964
Bachelor of Laws (Cum Laude), Ateneo de Manila – 1968
Third place in bar examination of 1968 with grade of 86.8%
Practicing Lawyer since 1969
Junior Partner – Romulo, Mabanta, Buenaventura, Sayoc & De los Angeles since May 1988
ACADEMIC POSITIONS: Faculty Member College of Law, Ateneo de Manila – 1970 up to the present Faculty of civil Law, University of Santo Tomas – 1989 up to the present College of Law, Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila -1998 up to 2007
Ateneo de Manila -1978 up to the present
University of the Philippines Law Center – 1982 up to the present
Far Eastern University – 1987 up to 1993
University of Santo Tomas – 1989 up to the present
Holder of Alexander Sycip Professorial Chair – 1983 to 1984 and 1986 to 1988
Holder of Chief Justice Claudio Teehankee Professorial Chair – 1989 to 1990 and 1994 to 1997
PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZATIONS: Integrated Bar of the Philippines Director of Manila IV Chapter – 1979 to 1981, 1993 to 1985 and 1987 to 1989 Secretary of Manila IV Chapter – 1981 to 1983, 1985 to 1987 and 1989 to 1991 Member National Committee on Non-Judicial Appointments – 1981 to 1983 Delegate to the House of Delegates – 1981 to 1985 and 1987 to 1989 Alternate Delegate to the House of Delegates – 1979 to 1981, 1985 to 1987, 1989 to 1991 and 1992 to 1993 Philippine Bar Association – Member Philippine Association of Law Professors – Charter Member, Director-1986 to 1992, Secretary-1987 to 1990 Congress of Center for International Studies – Charter Member
Atty. Jacinto Jimenez has represented both Philippine and foreign clients in various dealings before the Securities and Exchange Commission, Central Bank, and Insurance Commission. He has also argued cases before the trial courts, the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court. He has extensive experience dealing with Construction Industry Arbitration Commission. In addition, Atty. Jacinto Jimenez has advised Philippine and foreign clients on regulatory and transactional matters, including international joint ventures and international technology transfers. He is known among generations of those in the Ateneo Law School community as the “walking SCRA.” The Supreme Court Reports Annotated (SCRA) is a compilation of Philippine Court decisions.
Jose “Judd” Roy III Roy is a former law dean and president of Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila He started his legal career at the Supreme Court as chief of staff of then Chief Justice Andres Narvasa. Roy is also a batchmate of Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda at the Ateneo Law School.
German Lichauco II Practice: Civil Litigation, Corporate Litigation, Taxation, Criminal Litigation, Project Finance Education: Honors He is a partner at one of the biggest law firms in the country, Siguion Reyna Montecillo Ongsiako De La Salle University (A.B., 1987); Ateneo de Manila University (J.D., 1992, Second
Dennis Manalo He is a partner at one of the biggest law firms in the country, Siguion Reyna Montecillo Ongsiako A litigation expert
Atty. Ramon S. Esguerra Managing Partner of Esguerra & Blanco Law Offices, a law firm. Atty. Esguerra recently founded with six other lawyers equally of known experience and expertise in various areas of Philippine law. The fields of specialization of Atty. Esguerra, are on Intellectual Property, Real Estate, Settlement of Estates and Estate Planning, Judicial and Quasi-Judicial Litigation. Atty. Esguerra also served in the Philippine’s Department of Justice as Undersecretary in charge of the National Prosecution Service, National Bureau of Investigation, Bureau of Immigration and Witness Protection Security and Benefit Program. Atty. Esguerra serves as the Vice-Chancellor for External Affairs of the Alpha Phi Beta Chancery Inc., and a member of the Rotary Club, Makati Central. He serves as a Trustee and National Executive Director of People of the Philippines for Good Governance, Inc., President- elect of the Licensing Executives Society of the Philippines, Inc., Secretary-General of the Asean Intellectual Property Association, a Trustee and Vice-President of the Intellectual Property Association, Inc., Corporate Secretary of Filipinas Dravo Corporation, a Member of the International Trademark Association and the Asian Patent Attorneys Association. Atty. Esguerra has been a Director of Alaska Milk Corp. (AMC) since 2003. He is also an active member of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines and a Professorial Lecturer on Criminal Law at the University of the Philippines College of Law. Atty. Esguerra holds an A.B in Economics at the University of Santo Tomas and Bachelor of Laws from University of the Philippines. He graduated at the top five of his class and was hailed Chancellor, Order of the Purple Feather, of the U. P. College of Law Honor Society.
Tranquil Salvador with the Romulo Mabanta Buenaventura Sayoc & De los Angeles law office President of the University of Sto. Tomas Student Council (College of Arts and Letters) and subsequently of the Ateneo Law Student Council (ALSC).Â He was an Associate Editor of the Ateneo Law Journal in 1989. Â He was the first Chairman of the Association of Law Students of the Philippines for the National Capital Region in 1990.Â As president of the ALSC, he was given the Evelio B. Javier Leadership Award.
He is presently theÂ Dean of the Law School of Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Pasay (PLP),Â reviewer andÂ professor of law in Ateneo de Manila University, School of Law (ADMU), the Law School of Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila (PLM), Far Eastern University (FEU), FEU-La Salle and San Sebastian College (SSC), University of the East (UE), Juris Law Center, University Belt Consortium and adviser to the Far Eastern University Law Review, PLM Law Student Council and PLM-Alternative Lawyering Center.
Karen Jimeno master’s degree in law from Harvard University
Prosecution panel the Corona impeachment trial
Rep. Niel Tupas, Jr. (Iloilo, 5th District) Chief public prosecutor Chairperson, House Committee on Justice Finished Bachelor of Laws from the University of the Philippines in 1998 Served as junior partner at the Belo, Gozon, Elma, Parel, Asuncion & Lucila Law Offices from 1999 to 2004 Currently a member of the ruling Liberal Party (LP) chaired by President Benigno Aquino III Secondary prosecutor for Article I (partiality and subservience in cases involving the Arroyo administration)
Rep. Joseph Emilio Abaya (Cavite, 1st District) Chairperson, House Committee on Appropriations originally an officer of the Philippine Navy obtained a law degree from Ateneo de Manila University in 2005 currently serves as LP secretary-general assigned as the House prosecution team’s manager
Rep. Giorgidi Aggabao (Isabela, 4th District) obtained his law degree from Ateneo de Manila University in 1980 ranked 10th in the 1980 Bar examinations worked as associate attorney for the Siguion-Reyna, Montecillo and Ongsiako Law Office from 1981 to 1987 worked as lecturer and reviewer in commercial law at the FEU and the De La Salle University from 1989 to 1992 currently aligned with the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) lead prosecutor for Article III (lack of competence, integrity, probity and independence in allowing the Supreme Court to act on mere letters filed by a counsel; in allowing his wife’s appointment to office; and in discussing with litigants’ cases pending in the Supreme Court)
Rep. Arlene “Kaka” Bag-ao (Akbayan party-list) finished Bachelor of Laws from Ateneo de Manila University in 1993 served as lead counsel for the Sumilao farmers. The case resulted in an agreement under which the farmers can reclaim their lands. served as executive trustee for the BALAOD Mindanaw law group lead prosecutor for Article IV (disregard of separation of powers in issuing a status quo ante order against the House of Representatives during the impeachment proceedings of former Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez)
Rep. Elpidio Barzaga, Jr. (Cavite, 2nd District) Chairperson, House Committee on Suffrage and Electoral Reforms finished a law degree, magna cum laude, from the Far Eastern University in 1975 worked as a certified public accountant and lawyer f0r 22 years from 1976 to 1998 worked as a pre-bar reviewer and law professor in civil law at the FEU until 1992 bolted the Lakas-Kampi-Christian Muslim Democrats coalition in 2010 and was one of the lawmakers who founded the National Unity Party, in which he currently serves as the vice-president for external affairs lead prosecutor for Article V (gerrymandering of 16 newly created cities and promotion of Dinagat Island into a province)
Rep. Neri Colmenares (Bayan Muna party-list) finished Bachelor of Laws from the University of the Philippines served as former secretary-general for the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers served as lead counsel of the party-list organizations and won the suit before the Supreme Court questioning the “First Party Rule” that unduly cut down the number of winning party-list representatives after the 2007 elections lead prosecutor for Article VII (partiality in granting a temporary restraining order in favor of Mrs. Arroyo and her husband, Jose Miguel Arroy0.
Rep. Raul Daza (Northern Samar, 1st District) Deputy Speaker graduated cum laude from the University of the Philippines College of Law practiced law in the Philippines from 1958 to 1969 and 1998 to 2001 served as deputy minister of the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) under the presidency of the late Corazon Aquino. served as senior defense counsel in the impeachment trial of former President Joseph Estrada in 2000 currently aligned with the LP lead prosecutor for Article I (partiality and subservience in cases involving the Aroryo administration)
Rep. Rodolfo Fariñas (Ilocos Norte, 1st District) Vice-Chairperson, House Committee on Justice finished Bachelor of Laws from the Ateneo de Manila University in 1978 ranked 8th in the 1978 Bar Examinations aligned with the Nacionalista Party the only public prosecutor who did not sign the impeachment complaint against Corona lead prosecutor for Article VI (arrogating the authority and jurisdiction to improperly investigate Associate Justice Mariano Del Castillo of plagiarism)
Rep. Reynaldo Umali (Oriental Mindoro, 2nd District) obtained his law degree from the Manuel L. Quezon University in 1987 practised law for 10 years, while holding posts at the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council from 1990 to 1992 worked at the Bureau of Customs in 2003 and eventually became the agency’s deputy commissioner for revenue collection and monitoring currently aligned with the LP lead prosecutor for Article VIII (failure and refusal to account for the Judiciary Development Fund and Special Allowance for the Judiciary collections)
Rep. Marlyn Primicias-Agabas (Pangasinan, 6th District) Chairperson, House Committee on Revision of Laws finished law from the San Beda College of Law aligned with the NP lead prosecutor for Article II (failure to publicly disclose the chief justice’s statements of assets, liabilities and net worth.
Rep. Sherwin Tugna (Citizens’ Battle Against Corruption party-list) obtained his law degree from Ateneo de Manila University in 2006 served as junior associate lawyer for the Puyat Jacinto and Santos Law Offices and the Angara Abello Concepcion Regalla and Cruz Law Offices from 2007 to 2008 secondary prosecutor of Articles III and VI
NOTE: The information here is also on my blog @ mikeinmanila.com you can follow a live stream of the trial for free from 2pm Manila time on PTV.ph The Service is free and is from public television broadcaster PTV Philippines
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