THERE was nothing forced nor improper in the impeachment court’s insistence on procuring the statement of assets and liabilities of Chief Justice Renato Corona, some of Cebu’s legal analysts said yesterday.
Earl Bonachita, president of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines-Cebu chapter, said Supreme Court (SC) clerk Enriquetta Esguerra-Vidal won’t be held liable for delivering Corona’s statement to the Senate impeachment court.
“The Senate has issued a subpoena to the clerk of court. She (Vidal) actually brought with her the SALN of Chief Justice Corona. It was up to her to turn over the document,” he said.
Bonachita, who watched the press conference held by SC Administrator and spokesman Midas Marquez, said there was nothing irregular in the insistence of some senator-judges to procure Corona’s SALN.
“It was still within the rules. I think everybody behaved within the bounds of the rules,” he said.
Rex Fernandez, one of the advisers of the House prosecution panel, also disputed criticism on their performance on Day 3 of the trial.
“Like TV, you’re making a story line, and as presenters of the evidence, you want to tell the story. In this case, we want to tell the story of how corrupt the Supreme Court Chief Justice is and the best evidence is found in Article 2,” he said.
Fernandez said it would have been better if a pre-trial was held beforehand.
“It would have established the arrangement in the presentation of evidence. The stipulation of facts could have shortened it,” he added.
He also admitted the inadequate argumentative skills of the prosecution panel.
“The prosecution is not very good at presenting because congressmen are not practicing lawyers. But we are not worried because they can always be guided by the private prosecutors,” he said.
He said they are evaluating scenarios of the different rulings of the court and to consider beforehand the road blocks to be put up by the defense.
“They will try to delay the case to change and influence public opinion on Corona,” he said.
Phoebe Zoe Sanchez, sociology and political science professor of the University of the Philippines-Cebu, said the prosecution panel can ill afford to come to the impeachment trial unprepared.
“The prosecution should not only be for grandstanding. I hope the prosecution’s aim is to clean the government. They should show the misdeeds of our seated leaders,” she said. /Reporter Ador Vincent Mayol and Correspondent Patricia Andrea Pateña