Chief prosecutor Congressman Niel Tupas, Jr. formally announced that the prosecution will not anymore pursue Articles 1, 4, 5, 6, and 8 and it will rest its case based only on Articles 2, 3, and 7. A phase has therefore ended and the next phase of the defense presentation will also be a short one. The senator-judges, I think, have already their individual decisions.
The situation is dicey, whatever the court decision will turn out to be. There are three possibilities: one, the vote is two-thirds or more for impeachment; two, the vote is less than two-thirds but still a majority for impeachment; and, three, the majority vote is against impeachment.
The first possibility will mean an outright victory for the Aquino administration and for the majority public opinion. It will start off a reform trend in the judiciary and strengthen the institution. However, it will also sharpen the infighting within the ruling coalition as all parties tries to maneuver and influence the president’s choice for the post of the Chief Justice and the direction of further changes in the Supreme Court.
The second possibility will lead to a nebulous ending that will only ignite a sharp political struggle involving the presidency, congress and the judiciary. In a sense this will be worse for it can led to a debilitating political combat that may well weaken all three branches of government and will put the 2013 elections in the context of the political combat. It may also precipitate a corresponding mobilization of the people on various sides of the conflict.
The third possibility will mean a defeat of the administration in the Senate. It will invite various opposition groups to renew their political offensives against the Aquino administration. It will also signal an end to the ruling coalition this early. The combat will be especially bitter and, inevitably, people will be drawn into it. It may be a full-blown political crisis.
The key group to watch, of course, are the senator-judges. They missed the boat once–particularly in interpreting the public mood. Many among them are keen to make sure they do not miss it again but there are others who want to fish in troubled waters.
The water is not clear in this regard. They nevertheless brought us to a political precipice.