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MANILA, Philippines – More than half of 23 members of the Senate, sitting as the impeachment court, would have voted for the acquittal of Chief Justice Renato Corona on Articles 3 and 7, if the voting had continued, interviews with individual senators showed.
But that would only have happened if the 16 minimum votes needed to convict Corona on the first charge, Article 2, had not been mustered; then voting would have gone on to Article 3, and, in case no minimum number of conviction is attained, to Article 7.
In separate interviews, 13 senators said they would acquit Corona on the two remaining Articles for lack of evidence, weak presentation of evidence and irrelevancy of the case.
In the case of the last article, they said the decision was made by a collegial body (SC en banc), and Corona should not be charged alone.
Article 3 pertains to the Temporary Restraining Order issued by the Supreme Court favoring former president now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and her husband Mike, allowing them to travel abroad while the law enforcement agencies were still investigating the couple; and Article 7 regarding the decision by the Supreme Court, penned by Corona, on the Flight Attendants and Stewards Association of the Philippines (FASAP) case.
Here are the senators’ remarks on Articles 3 and 7:
Sen. Edgardo Angara: “Not Guilty, the TRO and FASAP case is collegial decision.”
Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano: “I instructed my staff to give me one conviction (Article 2) and one acquittal (either Article 3 or 7) to balance but I told them to focus on the SALN.”
Sen. Pia Cayetano: “Not guilty, kasi irrelevant ang Articles 3 and 7 and besides I didn’t reallly spend time reviewing Article 3 and 7, kasi nga irrelevant, kumbaga mahina.”
Sen. Franklin Drilon: “Acquitted, they have no basis.”
Sen. Teofisto Guingona III: “Walang basis, malamang acquit.”
Sen. Gregorio Honasan: “Not Guilty kasi collegial decision ang akusasyon sa Articles 3 and 7.”
Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr: “Not guilty, kasi kahit ang ibang senador ganoon ang pinag-uusapan eh.”
Sen. Sergio Osmena III: “Hindi ko in-analyze ang Articles 3 and 7, kasi Article 2 lang pinag-aralan ko.”
Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III: “Hindi ko na inisip o pinag-aralan ang Articles 3 and 7, hindi ko na pinahalagahan, eh.”
Sen. Ralph Recto: “Acquitted siya sa akin sa Article 3 and 7.”
Sen. Vicente Sotto III – Not guilty, mahina eh.”
Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV: “Acquitted kasi they have no evidence presented, and if there was, not enough to substantiate conviction.”
Sen. Manny Villar: “Irrelevant na un, kasi may 20 [votes] na sa Article 2, eh.”