Since the Corona defense team announced that Chief Justice Corona might or will take the witness stand (depending on how you interpret the various contrary pronouncements), there have been speculations if it will come to pass. My own guess (not a solid one, I might add) is he will do so.
He would have read the tell-tale signs by now. Key senators such as Senator Jinggoy Estrada have insisted he needs to take the witness stand. The surveys all point to public skepticism on the defense explanations so far and also insistent on his direct testimony, particularly regarding his Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN).
There is also the perception that the defense is stalling, with lesser quality witnesses and peripheral issues. This is obvious, since there was the whispers of almost frenetic activities behind the scene to influence the outcome, one way or the other.
The impeachment process has reached a point that senator-judges are almost ready to make their conclusions and vote. And until now, nobody can say with certainty what the vote will be: will it be an acquittal by an absolute majority, acquittal through a vote of more than a third for Corona, or at least a two-thirds majority vote for conviction? These three possibilities bring with them three different scenarios.
A crucial consideration for the defense–beyond the political arguments–is a credible refutation of the facts and arguments of the prosecution, including those that have been presented to the public outside of the formal processes of the impeachment court. Among these are Corona’s dollar accounts, his involvement in the Basa-Guidote corporate and family conflicts, and his internal and administrative actuation within the Supreme Court.
Senator-judges who will vote for Corona obviously need to satisfy themselves and make sure that the public accepts the defense explanations. Only Corona’s own testimony can possibly make this happen.
In a sense, CJ Corona’s appearance is a desperate move to turn back the tide of public opinion. He and his supporters have everything to lose now; after all, he had rejected all calls for resignation.
Will he or won’t he?