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Impeachment is a constitutional administrative proceeding.
When there is sufficient, credible evidence to prove constitutionally-recognized ground for filing impeachment, then the impeached high government official must be removed from office.
There is evidence on record to show that Chief Justice Renato Corona did not declare in his SALN for 13 years real properties worth millions of pesos.
There is also evidence on record as well as admissions that millions of pesos and millions of dollars were also not declared on the respondents’ SALN. The arguments of the respondent do not persuade this senator-judge.
Number one, the ownership of the real property is transferred upon the real property sold.
When the contract of sale of real property is embodied in a public instrument, the execution of the said instrument is equivalent to the thing sold.
Number two, there is no law exempting commingled funds from disclosure in the SALN.
Minarapat sana ng punong mahistrado na iwasan ang ganitong transaksyong pinansyal.
Hindi na nga iniwasan, ginagamit pang kasangkapan upang hindi tumupad sa kanyang tungkuling ilahad ang tunay niyang yaman.
Number three, the duty of a public officer or employee to submit under oath a declaration of assets liabilities and net worth is mandated by the Constitution.
In case of conflict, the Constitution prevails over RA 6426.
Number four, the SALN is required by RA 6713, a 1989 law, the respondent relies on RA 6426, a 1974 law.
In case of conflict, the later law prevails over the earlier law because the later law is the latest expression of the legislative mill.
Number five, RA 6713 emphasizes the obligation of the public official and employee to file his SALN as well as the right of the public to know their assets, liabilities, and net worth.
The 1974 law, RA 6426, cannot be interpreted in such a way that it would nullify the main
purpose of the code of conduct as a tool against graft and corruption.
Hindi layunin ng RA 4626 na magsilbing kanlungan ng mga tiwali sa gobyerno.
The earlier law cannot be interpreted to nullify the purposes of the later law.
The respondent relies too much on the phrase, “of an absolutely confidential nature.”
This phrase is practically useless as the secrecy of bank deposits act itself provides for exemptions, jurisprudence, and other laws add six more exceptions.
The FCDA itself provides one exception and jurisprudence and other law provide for further two more exceptions.
How can something be of an absolutely confidential nature when there are so many exceptions to the rule of confidentiality?
The 1974 FCDA and the 1989 SALN law so not have to exclude each other, they can be harmonized.
This senator-judge respectfully submits that the two laws could be harmonized as follows:
Foreign currency deposit accounts continue to be protected form idle inquiry but the amount of these deposits must be declared as assets in the SALN converted to Philippine peso without need for disclosing details like the name of the bank and account numbers.
Furthermore, RA 6713 can require that the SALN shall contain information on all other assets, does not distinguish between peso and foreign currencies.
When the law does not distinguish, neither should we distinguish.
The respondent has consistently misinterpreted all the laws as releasing him from his constitutional duty to disclose his entire assets in his SALN.
The respondent never corrected his SALN to reflect his true net worth. This fact has convinced this senator-judge of the respondent’s intent to avoid his constitutional duty to disclose his true net worth.
Simple lang, kung ayaw mong ilahad ang tunay mong yaman, 'wag kang pumasok sa gobyerno.
Under RA 6713, any violation is sufficient cause for removal or dismissal of an ordinary public employee.
Ang patakarang pinapatupad para sa pangkaraniwang empleyado ng gobyerno ay dapat din ipatupad sa punong mahistrado sapagkat tayong lahat ay pantay-pantay sa ilalim ng batas.
Ang batas para kay Juan ay batas din para kay Renato.
Therefore, this sentor-judge finds the respondent Chief Justice Renato C. Corona of culpable violation of the Constitution and betrayal of public trust under Article 2 of the Articles of Impeachment.