Setting The Stage For Mistrial
Last week, CJ Corona filed an urgent petition asking the Supreme Court to issue a temporary restraining order (TRO) to stop the impeachment trial but the high court did not grant the request. Yesterday, the accused filed a supplementary petition with the high court to strengthen his request to stop the trial with the claim that certain senators have lost the cold neutrality of an impartial judge. He said certain senators acted as partisan prosecutors by causing the production of documents and eliciting testimonial evidence favoring the prosecution.
The accused Chief Justice, despite the above-described moves, continue to claim innocence of the accusations contained in the Articles of Impeachment. Through his defense counsels, the respondent in the first ever impeachment trial against the highest magistrate in the Philippines said that he has evidence to prove that he did not underdeclare his year-end cash and investments balances in the Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALNs) he filed in the previous years.
One of the senators mentioned by CJ Corona of being biased against him declared in various media interviews today said that the accused and his defense team are setting the stage for his eventual declaration of a “mistrial,” As if to complement the strategy, the defense panel earlier accused the Palace of offering senator-judges PhP100 million in exchange for voting against the high court’s TRO on the opening of Corona’s dollar accounts.
Sen. Franklin Drilon, an impeachment judge earlier asked by the defense team to inhibit himself in the trial, said the Senate impeachment court is a class of its own and that they are governed by the rules of the impeachment, the standard of which on neutrality is political impartiality. He added that the impeachment court is superior in adopting its own rules which cannot be inquired or interfered with by the Supreme Court.
As a non-lawyer closely monitoring the proceedings and at the rate the impeachment trial is dragging due to mainly to technicalities, I won’t be surprised if the public would soon lose interest in the case. In the end, whether CJ Corona will be convicted or acquitted by the Senate impeachment court would not matter to the public anymore. The current confusion in the minds of the public is caused not only by the defense team but by the Congressman-prosecutors and Senator-judges as well. The showmanship in the impeachment trial continue unabated.