Friday, May 25, 2012

Five questions on the Impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona

Question no. 1: Is the prosecution correct in telling the  Filipino people that the Chief Justice Corona has local and dollar accounts?

Answer, partially correct. The Chief Justice admitted having dollar accounts amounting to US$ 2.4 million. He also admitted having local bank accounts.

Question no. 2: Is the prosecution correct in saying that the Chief Justice failed to include these assets in his Statement of Assets and Liabilities?

Answer: Yes. The Chief Justice failed to include these assets in his SALN. However, the CJ posits a qualification--he did that without malice. He says that he interprets a 1974 law as applicable to his case. This law says that there is absolute confidentiality in the disclosure of foreign bank accounts.

Since there is this law, then, it is not illegal for a government official not to fully disclose all his bank deposit accounts.

Besides, these deposits are not entirely owned by the Chief Justice since these are "co-mingled" funds. Meaning, both his and his relatives' monies  were deposited in these deposits so that it earns higher interests.

Question no. 3: The law is clear on the disclosure of all assets under the SALN law.

Answer: No. The SALN law, according to the Chief Justice, is not entirely clear in its instruction in disclosure of assets. It counters an old law. However, if we are to follow the rules of statutory construction, this 1974 law has been superceded by the 1987 Constitution.

Question no. 4: Is malice a necessary element in determining the innocence or guilt of the Chief Justice in the accusation made by the prosecution on him violating the 1987 Constitution.

Answer: No. The existence of malice is not an important component in determining guilt or innocence. What the accusers of the Chief Justice accused him of is the violation of the SALN law, a special law.

Violations of special law only requires evidence which proves that the law was indeed violated.

Question no. 5: What is the liability of the prosecution in presenting evidence which points 
to the existence of 82 bank accounts and several properties of the Chief Justice?

Answer: Nothing. It seems like the prosecution this time will never be prosecuted for the partially true accusations they heaped against the Chief Justice. It seems like the very purpose of all these is to harm the integrity and reputation of the Chief Justice.