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CJ's innocence must be proven beyond reasonable doubt, otherwise...


The defense panel in the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona is facing a very difficult task of proving the innocence of the respondent.

One charge is enough to remove the Chief Justice if found guilty out of several charges in the articles of impeachment.

The defense panel, headed by a brilliant and experienced former Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, is very smart in trying to block evidences being shown by the prosecution.

But the preponderance of evidence, one piece after the other, cannot simply be overruled by the smartness of the defense lawyers.

The issue on ill gotten wealth has been scrapped in Article 2 of the impeachment charges. But common sense speaks that any property acquired beyond the capability of respondent is questionable.

And even without formally presenting it as evidence of ill gotten wealth, it is impliedly considered an unexplained wealth which is a product of corruption.

For sure these things are noted by the public and the Senators-Judges.

And these have been shown in the name of the respondent and his wife which were not correctly reflected in the Statement of Assets and Liabilities & Networth (SALN) of the Chief Justice.

In fact the defense admitted that the erroneous entries in the SALN of the Chief Justice could still be rectified but the prosecution maintained that untruthfulness has already been committed and although the violation does not fall under high crime category but it is considered a betrayal of public trust that is punishable by removal from office under the constitution.

The irony is that it took 11 days of trial to prove that there were erroneous entries in the SALN of the Chief Justice.

In criminal cases the burden of proof lies on the prosecution to prove the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt.

But in the impeachment trial it appears that the burden of proof lies on the defense to prove the innocence of the respondent beyond reasonable doubt, otherwise he will be boiled in hot water.

By Rex Miravite

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