The first four days of the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona are over. We can make a first appraisal of the results, which centered on the second impeachment article on the non-disclosure of CJ Corona’s statement of assets, liabilities, and net worth (SALN).
These four days can be characterized as a game of patintero. The prosecution, nervous as a mouse, tries to get past the big legal cats guarding the line. However, at the of the four days, it is the defense cats that are getting nervous. The first three city registrar of deeds (Taguig City, Quezon City, and Marikina City) had taken the witness stand and produced titles and deed of sales of various properties owned by the CJ Corona and his family. Taken on their face, these documents already pointed to big discrepancies in the list of properties and their price-values entered in the SALNs and as recorded in the register of deeds.
The only thing that the defense at this point can do is to impugn these documents, prevent their entry into the court record, and otherwise question their relevancy. The latter is based on the line of questioning that the defense had taken. Both inside and outside the trial proper, the defense asserted that producing the SALN already satisfies and answers the second article of impeachment and that the titles and deeds produced by the witnesses are irrelevant.
The defense argued on technicalities–they know that the factual side of the argument offers them nothing to base their defense. If it fails to prevent the entry into the court record of these evidence, then there is the possibility of an abbreviated trial. The senator-judges may just decide to change the rules and vote immediately.
The uphill battle of CJ Corona has just gone steeper. He will need all the expertise and skills of his veteran defense team. However, this may not be enough.
Abangan ang susunod na kabanata.