Buencamino is a fellow of Action for Economic Reforms. This piece was first published in Interaksyon.com on December 28, 2011.
So Chief Justice Corona’s answer to the verified impeachment complaint is to ask for its dismissal because it is biased, done with “undue haste”, and failed to comply with the requirement of verification.
Impeached Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez made a similar allegation when she challenged the impeachment complaint against her but the Court said, “Petitioner contends that the “indecent and precipitate haste” of public respondent in finding the two complaints sufficient in form and substance is a clear indication of bias, she pointing out that it only took public respondent five minutes to arrive thereat. An abbreviated pace in the conduct of proceedings is not per se an indication of bias…. For one’s prompt dispatch may be another’s undue haste…The presumption of regularity includes the public officer’s official actuations in all phases of work.”
Earlier in the same Gutierrez case, the Court showed that one does not have to read every word of a petition or complaint before arriving at a decision. As a matter of fact, the Court confirmed that there is no need to read a petition at all. It granted a status quo ante order that halted the Gutierrez impeachment notwithstanding the fact that most of the justices had not read her petition. Newsbreak magazine reported: “(Justice Ma. Lourdes) Sereno noted that on Wednesday morning, “a statement was made in the media” that it was the petition’s synopsis that was distributed to the justices and made as basis for the full-court deliberation.”
I guess if a synopsis is good enough for a status quo ante order then a PowerPoint presentation should also be good enough for an impeachment complaint, right? (Do not think apples and oranges, think goose and gander equivalence.)
Corona has yet to sign his answer to the Senate. His lawyers seem to have overlooked the requirement that he verify his answer as true and of his personal knowledge. However it’s also possible that the oversight was intentional so that Corona can disown the document and thus avoid being held “liable for perjury if he is found lying in any of his allegations in his answer.”
Anyway, check out some excerpts from the prefatory statement of the answer Corona submitted to the Senate:
“Impeachment for Chief Justice Renato C. Corona came like a thief in the night”; “In blitzkrieg fashion”; “the public’s proverbial mind is muddled with questions about the fate of so-called priority bills long covered in mildew and buried in cobwebs”; “a partisan orgy, devoid of mature deliberation and of lawful purpose whatsoever”; “a rushed, partisan, and insidious attempt to unseat a sitting Chief Justice”; “a callous corruption of our democracy in this staged impeachment”; “Corona bears the happenstance of leading the Supreme Court in the face of a political crusade that readily sacrifices the Rule of Law to its thirst for popularity”; “It appears that Members were expected to sign on being offered tangible rewards, even if denied to read the Articles of Impeachment and examine the evidence against CJ Corona”; the president’s “virulent attacks on Corona and the Court “followed on the heels of the promulgation of the decision on Hacienda Luisita.”
I don’t know why but I had visions of Rep. Edcel Lagman when I came across those words and phrases above.
Happy New Year!