Day 43 : The Oral Arguments (Corona Impeachment Trial)

After 42 trial days, the Senate Impeachment court has finally came down to the final battle on the Impeachment Trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona. Both the prosecution and the defense panel laid their final oral arguments pertaining to the Impeachment Case of the Chief Justice. One hour for each side was given to voice their arguments and convince the Senator judges to vote either to convict or acquit the accused.

On the part of the prosecution the speakers were Lead Prosecutor Niel Tupas Jr., Deputy Prosecutor Rudy Fariñas and House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte. On the other side, for the defense the chosen ones were Dean Ed Delos Angeles, Atty. Dennis Manalo and Lead Defense Counsel Ret. Justice Serafin Cuevas.

The prosecution reiterated that indeed there are malice in the intention of the Chief Justice not to disclose bulk of his assets. Rep. Fariñas in fact used the word “Palusot” for the excuses or allibis of the defense pertaining to his non-disclosure of the dollar and peso accounts. He enumerated several instances of “Palusot” by Corona because he cannot find any more creadible allibi as why he did not properly declared all his assets in his SALN. On Speaker Belmonte’s closing argument he appealed to the Senator Judges to see through the character of the accused Chief Justice. He also said it seemed the Chief Justice wants to be exempted in the SALN law, which is not good because he’s the highest magistrate and he should set good example for all.

On the other hand for the part of the defense, they banked on the argument that the Chief Justice’s non disclosure of some of his assets is protected by the FCD Law. They reiterated again and again that Corona has no obligation to disclose his dollar accounts because of the provisions on the FCD Law that prohibits disclosure of the foreign currency accounts. Another argument raised by the was, Is not disclosing his dollar accounts impeachable noting his interpretation of the FCD Law? They’ve appealed to the Senator judges to give the verdict of acquittal because although the Chief Justices admitted for not disclosing his dollars, it was done in good faith.

After the oral arguments of both panels, Senator judges were given the chance to ask clarificatory questions. But none of the 23 senators except the presiding judge Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile posted questions. He asked the defense some points on the FCD Law, if there will be undue injury on the part of the Chief Justice is he will declare the dollar accounts. That line of questioning somewhat hinted JPE’s stand on the case.

The trial adjourned much earlier than usual. And tomorrow will be the verdict day where the judges will vote to convict or acquit the Chief Justice.

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