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Who’s winning the impeachment trial?


LIFE’S INSPIRATIONS: “… God is spirit, and his worshippers must worship in the Spirit and in truth…” (John 4:24, the Holy Bible).

WHO IS WINNING IN THE IMPEACHMENT TRIAL? So, who’s really winning in the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona? The prosecution, which has already presented Corona’s statements of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALNs) and his income tax returns, or the defense, which has cross-examined each and every witness and scrutinized each and very document against the chief justice?
Apparently, the answer depends on which newspaper you are reading, which radio station you are listening to, which television station you are watching, and which lawyers are being interviewed. There are media outlets and lawyers and lawyers’ groups that say Corona is losing because his SALNs and tax returns are showing his incapacity to acquire expensive properties.

On the other hand, there are also those who say that Corona is winning because the SALNs and the tax returns are not enough to show he committed graft and corruption. Now, the interesting part in all these is this: how are all of these conflicting media interpretations about what is happening at the Senate affecting our senator-judges and the people as a whole? Among the senator-judges, who do they think is winning?

PEOPLE POWER VS. IMPEACHMENT DECISION? And by the way, just exactly what do we mean when we say it is the Filipino people who will ultimately be the judge in the Corona trial? Can the Filipino people really directly intervene if they are not in accord with the final decision of the senators? What kind of intervention are they allowed to do---“people power” demonstrations against Corona, the Supreme Court, and the Senate?
And, how many people must participate in any people power demonstration so it can be said that the “Filipino people” really are the ones deciding? Can Metro Manila residents holding “people power” rallies be enough, and to be considered as already representing the entire “Filipino nation”?
In a nation of 90 million or so men and women, children and adults, how many should participate in a “people power” rally so the agenda they are pushing could overturn a Senate decision on the impeachment? Is there any clear parameter, legal or otherwise, over this issue?

OPPOSING “PEOPLE POWER” RALLIES POSSIBLE: How about those who would not be interested, for any reason, to join any “people power” rallies, will they be considered useless in deciding whether the Senate decision is acceptable or not---meaning that, just because they chose to be silent, the more noisy ones who have taken to the streets would be deemed to have decided for them?
Supposing, just supposing, other groups would also stage their own people power demonstrations, with agendas radically different from the “usual” people power demonstrators---say, they are supportive of Corona---would they be tolerated because they are also entitled to their Constitutional rights to free speech and assembly, or are they going to be arrested and detained because they could be considered violators of the law on peace and order?
In all these, who of the “people power” demonstrators would be aided by the government---those who espouse the views of the government, or those who support contrary views? Would this not result in dividing the country irretrievably and ultimately cause its total destruction?

By Atty. Batas Mauricio

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