If this impeachment trial of Chief Justice is as simple as determining whether or not he declared every single thing in his Statement of Assets and Liabilities, then, this should have been over since the very first admission of the defense that (1) indeed, the Chief Justice maintains local bank accounts and properties not entirely listed and (2) instead of 82 bank deposit accounts, the Chief Justice maintains just four or five. Whether it is five or four accounts or just one, the question is very simple---did he declared these bank accounts in his SALN?
Why is it very important that the Chief Justice or anyone answer this question? This is the main reason why he was impeached by Congress and the very same reason why he is being tried by the Senate.
By not declaring these things in his SALN shows a flaw in his integrity and honesty as a government official.
By purposely glossing over these things, and skirting the issue of declaration, the Chief Justice has very well answered the basic or core issue.
But no, this is not solely about the Law, this impeachment trial is also political. Why is he being asked to formally declare every thing he own in his SALN? Because someone wanted to hit him. And that someone happens to be Malacanang.
Corona, in his speech says that the reason why he did not declare his foreign bank deposits is his differing view about the law on SALN. Corona invoked a martial law rule which says that foreign bank deposits are confidential; hence, no one, except the Courts can compel someone to disclose these deposits before the public.
That law is as old as Cuevas, and since it was made during Martial law, it is now superceded by the new 1987 Constitution. There is a provision in the basic charter which says that those laws which contravene the spirit and intention of the Constitution are rendered unconstitutional.
The SALN law is one of the measures thought of by several of our legislators for one thing and one thing alone---to be able to curb graft and corruption and for the people to be able to see whether a government official has enriched himself while in office.
Which between the two is paramount---the right to confidentiality or the right to disclosure?