February 29, 2012
The decision of the Liberal Party-directed House prosecution panel to end the presentation of evidence and witnesses in the impeachment trial may have preempted the reply of Justice Ma.Lourdes Sereno to the request of Rep. Neri Colmenares to appear before the trial. The House panel also announced they were dropping the five other articles of impeachment and will just stick to Articles 2, 3 and 7.
The decision to end the presentation of evidence came on the same day that Colmenares sent his letter to Sereno. The Senate meanwhile announced yesterday that they will include in their Monday caucus the matter of the SC’s refusal to heed a Senate subpoena of certain employees.
“It is indeed a mystery why, despite growing public clamor for Sereno to appear before the Senate, and with a formal request just recently given to Sereno, the LP-directed prosecution would stop the presentation of witnesses and evidence. It would not hurt their cause if they waited a few more days for a reply from Sereno, or if they made reservations that would allow Sereno to later on appear should she decide to do so. To end the presentation now, with these issues still left hanging, is puzzling to say the least,” said Bayan secretary general Renato M. Reyes, Jr.
“Article 7 is important because it strikes at the heart of the alleged partiality of the Chief Justice towards Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. The issues should be fully ventilated and all means to uncover the truth must be exhausted. We must not allow the SC to simply get away with a blanket declaration of confidentiality while public interest and accountability suffer. This would make any future impeachment of an SC justice even more difficult. The LP-directed prosecution should have put up a more principled fight instead of rushing to end the presentation in an anti-climactic manner,” he added.
The Gloria Panagutin! Movement meanwhile said that the public waited long to have the issue of GMA brought up in the impeachment trial but it would appear that there are those in the prosecution who are not that keen in pursuing this issue.
“While we do not want a protracted trial, the case of CJ Corona’s partiality towards GMA should be vigorously pursued and the SC resolution on confidentiality should be strongly opposed. Resting the presentation of evidence at this stage may give the impression that the prosecutors themselves are already resigned regarding the SC maneuvers,” said Fr. Joe Dizon.
“Are Aquino and his allies really serious in bringing out the issue of GMA in this impeachment trial? Or is the GMA issue a mere sweetener or token in the impeachment complaint? Of course we all want to see a conviction but the process should also help to uncover the truth and educate the public,” he added.
On the dropping of the five other articles of impeachment, the group said that the poorly written impeachment complaint was one of the main stumbling blocks in trial. “Dropping the other articles may have been just damage control, an effect of the poorly crafted impeachment complaint from the House. Had they really prepared for the trial, they would have only included the strongest cases in the complaint to avoid a protracted battle,” Dizon said.