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MANILA, Philippines - Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, presiding officer of the impeachment court that tried Chief Justice Renato Corona, voted to convict him on Article of Impeachment II, for culpabale violation of the Constitution and betrayal of the public trust.
On Day 44 of the historic trial, Enrile cast the 23rd and last vote that sealed the fate of Corona just on the first of three articles of impeachment alone.
The Enrile vote of "guilty" was the 20th, or four votes more than the minimum needed to convict Corona on betrayal of public trust and culpable violation of the Constitution.
Corona was accused in Article of Impeachment II of failure to disclose fully his assets, liabilities and net worth.
Enrile preceded his speech explaining his vote--the longest---with a narration of the many times he felt deeply frustrated by the sloppy preparation of the complaint by the prosecution, and angered by attempts by certain parties to "manipulate" the court with the floating of "dubious" documents and information in the media and to the public, before these are presented in court.
But in the end, Enrile said, as senator-judge he disagreed with Corona's interpretation of the foreign currency deposits law granting confidentiality of dollar deposits, and his decision to exclude substantial peso deposits on the ground these are "co-mingled" funds.
"I vote to hold the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Renato C. Corona, guilty as charged under Article Roman numeral II, and this deliberate act of excluding substantial assets from his SALN constitutes in my humble view as member of this court a culpable violation of the Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines."