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National

Miriam votes to acquit Chief Justice Corona on Article II

InterAksyon.com
The online news portal of TV5

MANILA, Philippines - Senator-judge Miriam Defensor-Santiago voted to acquit Chief Justice Renato Corona in Article II as the impeachment court rendered a verdict on Day 44 of the historic trial.

Defensor-Santiago, fifth in the line of senators called upon to declare and announce their vote, said the charge of failing to disclose truthfully Corona's Statement of Assets Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN), which is Article II of Impeachment, is not an impeachable offense.

That it carries a light penalty and allows for correction by the public officer means it is not of the same class as the other grounds for impeachment cited in the Constitution: bribery, graft, treason, other high crimes, betrayal of public trust.

She also explained the meaning of the "quasi-judicial, quasi political" description of the impeachment. This means it partly considers law and justice, and partly politics. 

It means that the judge must consider what his constituency feels about the matter, "because they might disagree with what the law says." It doesn't mean, she said, that "political" considerations of those looking to run in the next elections will guide their verdict---it was a thinly veiled broadside at colleagues  who will either run in 2013 or have close relatives who will.

Reminded that she did not explicitly state her vote as she prepared to return to her seat, the irrepressible senator told the chair, "Would you be very surprised if I said my vote is not guilty?"

 

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