Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Real Game of Thrones Part 3

Part 3: A Battle Won by Grave Mistakes

The game changed when Chief Justice Renato Corona appeared in the Impeachment Court in a highly dramatized stint filled with rhetoric, mud slinging, scripted opening speech which he himself requested he should give... and the Senate, in due respect, obliged. It was one mistake, for by doing so he opened many points for discussion, and in the end, even proved he has a moral issue as he walked out of the proceeding mainly because he was Chief Justice and that he wishes to be excused.

Later on we saw Corona run to a hospital, got sick and had to be confined. A usual eskapo for GMA minions. 
Either you get hospitalized, or you die.
Their game play has been very clear. But the game of thrones will always put someone in the losing side.
It was their time to taste defeat.

As he was brought back after this, Corona made his next mistake: admitting that he did not disclose his 2.4 million dollar account and his 80 million peso co-mingled funds. Following this was another mistake – he quoted R.A. 6426, The Foreign Currency Deposit Act of the Philippines, as his sole defense on why it was legal for him not to put into his SALN the dollar account. His stand? SALN was never an impeachable offense. His conscience, as he said, was CLEAN.

On that fateful day of May 29 2012, 23 Senator-Judges decided.

Ed Angara voted to CONVICT. He said it was Corona who "removed the iota of doubt" when he admitted he did not disclose his dollar account. Alan Cayetano voted to CONVICT, citing "lack of counter evidence" to answer the testimonies of Ombudsman Carpio Morales, and that he cannot accept Corona's "interpretation of law" as a defense. He posed a question: if that was not Corona, will we accept that reason? Joker Arroyo voted to ACQUIT, saying, in perhaps the most wonderfully articulated speech, "I cannot imagine we'll remove the Chief Justice on a (miswritten) SALN". Pia Cayetano cited Code of Conduct, encapsulated in R.A. 6713 as the standard of her decision. Said she, "corrections are allowed, but the failure to cite 2.4 million $ and 80 million pesos is NOT MINOR." She voted to CONVICT.

All eyes and ears were stolen by famed senator judge Miriam Defensor Santiago, who, again, fuming with oratorical delivery and cursing here and there, lambasted the thinking of those who were not like her. The burden of proof, according to her, is on the prosecution, and they were not able to produce it. On citing impeachable offenses in the Constitution (Article XI, Sec 2), she believes a correctable SALN cannot be an impeachable reason. 

Frank Drilon as expected, voted to CONVICT, saying Corona had no evidence to support his claims. Chiz Escudero voted to CONVICT, also ending with a statement that he submitted his waiver to the Ombudsman and that he was open for transparency. His explanation, like the others, made sense, saying that the Secrecy Clause of R.A. 6426 allows depositor to look into his own account, therefore equipping him to include this in his SALN. 

All the next Senator-Judges voted to CONVICT: Jinggoy Estrada on being "not convinced" by Corona's use of a 6426 for his defense, TJ Guingona on asking "Nasaan ito sa kanyang SALN?", Gringo Honasan saying "we have not proven that Corona is corrupt" but "no longer fit to preside the highest court in the land", Panfilo Lacson speaking of "half truths are lies", Lito Lapid in a rare opportunity where as a mere high school graduate and novice in lawmaking, said pasensiya na po as he voted according to his conscience.

Bongbong Marcos expectedly voted to ACQUIT. he was famously quoted for his speech, saying "when the furor has died down... we shall find solace in fact that this decision... is fair." Marcos was Corona's last hope. For after him came the barrage of votes to CONVICT.

Serge Osmeña said justice should be applied equally. Kiko Pangilinan cited systematic concealment of Corona's assets. Koko Pimentel again cited R.A. 6713. Ralph Recto saying it is mandatory to submit a true document under oath. Bong Revilla, the surprise swing vote who completed the required 16 votes, quoted "Chudor" Roosevelt, cited divine "frovidence", and said he heard directly from Corona the admittance that led to his decision. Tito Sotto and Antonio Trillanes followed suit, and Tunay na Mahirap Tindero ng Hipon Nakaligo sa Dagat ng Basura his Emminence, great business tycoon Manny Villar obviously just took the opportunity to talk about HIMSELF. He voted to CONVICT, by the way, reiterating Corona is a good man.

Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile completed the overwhelming 20 votes to CONVICT, and in his long speech of recapping the process, he proved he is a man of REASON. His point? The prosecution never really proved anything. The May 25 2012 hearing compelled him to form his decision, with a rude CJ speaking for himself without presenting hard evidence, and quoting the law that exempts him from true declaration of SALN. To Enrile, Corona was still DUTY BOUND, and that Corona's reasoning was "GROSSLY MISPLACED". 

For me, convicting Corona based on his miswritten SALN constitutes to this:

Culpable violation of the constitution
For purposes of impeachment, "culpable violation of the Constitution" is defined as "the deliberate and wrongful breach of the Constitution." Further, "Violation of the Constitution made unintentionally, in good faith, and mere mistakes in the proper construction of the Constitution, do not constitute an impeachable offense."

It was Corona's intention not to disclose his foreign accounts. 
It was a breach of the constitution, most especially of Article XI, Section 2.
As the highest magistrate of the land, he should have known better.
The law should not be breached.

That was how GMA's lasting formidable wall came to end. It goes down in history as the first successful Impeachment ever done by the country. it was done with much beauty and elegance. it was decided upon by a landslide vote. It was a fair trial, only that because Corona made his own mistakes, he eventually got a taste of his own medicine. 

And that medicine proved bitter, not only to him and his family,
but to the Queen who once held the Iron Throne despite the pronouncement of a new King.
And now, when the furor subsides as Sen. Marcos implicated, the Queen shall know she's next.

Only God knows where this game of thrones would lead us to. The game of thrones is dynamic – it may end on one's victory and another's loss, but the game never ends. An election is steaming, a new CJ will come into place, and the president I voted for may do something wrong along the way. Let's be watchful, for this Real Game of Thrones provide us with more episodes– realistic ones, never-ending plots, and most of all, a game where we can find our own individual selves in; caught between all these things, with only the power of democracy being our dragons, us waiting for the Filipino People to gain true hold of the Iron Throne.

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