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Thank you Mr. President.
I base my decision on facts presented in this court and not on opinions aired outside of it. On testimonies of witnesses and not on theories of wives. On the arguments of lawyers and not on analyses of their spokesmen. On submitted evidence and not on anonymous leaks. And aboveall on the figures of official documents and not the numbers on recent polls because as a judge my duty is to choose what is right and not what is popular.
Having expressed the foundation of my decision, let me put forward my observations on this trial.
First, in an impeachment complaint, length is not strength. Better for an indictment to be short but substantial than one that is long in allegations but short in proof.
Second, haste makes waste. The reason why the trial simmered in the Senate is because the articles were served half-cooked instead of well done.
Third, the way evidence was produced left a bad taste in the mouth.
Mr. President let me now explain my vote. There is no such thing as a SALN so statistically perfect that it is precise to the last decimal point. If a government employee is to ask, is asked to catalog what he owes and what he owns, some information may fall into the crack, not as an act of deliberate concealment but as an unwitting omission done in good faith.
So this boils down to the degree of the unintentional miscalculation and logic dictates that we accept the slight inaccuracies because if we leave no room for laws, then believe me, no government official will be left.
In the case of the Chief Justice’s SALN, the undeclared assets are so huge, 50 times more than what he declared in cash: $2.4M in US dollar deposits and P80M that they cannot be brushed aside as innocent exclusions.
The very same Constitution that we have sworn to obey and uphold makes it mandatory for a public officer like him to submit a true declaration under oath of his assets, liabilities and net worth. Mr. Corona knows this because in cases brought to the Supreme Court he had punished his fellow government workers for failing to disclose far lesser amounts. He should have declared the amount. Thus I vote guilty on article 2.
Mr. President in a few hours, we will be pulling the plug on this afternoon’s political telenovela. With a sigh of relief, let’s go back to our regular programming for our unheralded work is done away from the camera lights. The end of the trial does not call for celebration it calls for getting our bearings back and setting our priorities right again. One in 5 people who watch this trial on TV occasionally go hungry. 1 in 3 had all the time to watch because they have no work. 5 in 10 people who follow this trial rated themselves poor. 80% do not even have a bank account or savings. So if we think what we’ve done here is peculiar. There is no indictment for being clueless of what our people want and ignorant of our true potential. It is easy to impeach one man. What is hard is to impeach hunger, it impeach joblessness and to impeach poverty.
Thank you Mr. President.