The Chief Justice may be acquitted on the grounds of what? Ignorance of the law? Ignorance, says a Latin legal term which a Freshman law student always utter during his first year in law school, of the law excuses no one of compliance therewith.
Three questions are now before the Senator-Judges. One is, did the Chief Justice failed to disclose his assets and liabilities fully before the public thru his Statement of Assets and Liabilities and Net worth? Two, did the Chief Justice render decisions favoring former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and lastly, questions as to the partiality of his decisions rendered before the court.
Any one of these charges could actually validate or confirm the charge of impeachment by the Lower House. The prosecution presented more pieces of evidence to prove just one of the three articles of impeachment which is the non-disclosure or full disclosure of his assets and liabilities.
The Chief Justice had an alibi----his non-disclosure of his bank accounts was deliberate because he interpreted the law protecting the confidentiality of these accounts as absolute. His local bank accounts were also not reported because it was never really his--monies were co-mingled with his and his wife's money, something like a paluwagan scheme where everyone's monies were deposited in an account for it to earn higher interests. As to the number of his properties, he claims only five properties, which were all listed in his SALN.
During an informal "cross" by Senator judge Drilon, it was proven that the Chief Justice also failed to include a 34.6 million "liability" in his SALN when he took out such amounts from his local savings account.
So there---what the Chief Justice said these "non-disclosures" were made without malice because he interpreted the law this way and that way. Hence, he deserves to be acquitted.
An acquittal would probably be in the minds of several people in the Senate because the Chief Justice "alibi" is acceptable, since many people actually do these things.
As they say, you make your money grow. What the Chief Justice revealed was something known by many people who work hard to make their monies make more money.
Senator Pangilinan and Cayetano asked the Chief Justice why did he opted not to declare these assets in his SALN, when these assets were fruits of a legitimate enterprise?
The answer of course is simple for the Chief Justice---his local accounts are not entirely his, therefore, it is his discretion to reveal or not to reveal it; same goes to his foreign bank deposits.
read the next part....a Guilty Verdict.