Monday, May 28, 2012

Down to the Wire

The impeachment trial is nearly over. No one is predicting a win except the defense and prosecution. Both predict a win, or at least are arguing vociferously right down to the wire.

It is easy to see why acquittal is possible. The $2.4 million dollars and P80 million have been reasonably explained away by Mr. Corona. Bank secrecy laws. Comingled funds. Unclear SALN rules. After 45 years of professional work, an inheritance, money from sale of property, it is within reason that he would have this amount. Is five properties out of line? Maybe or maybe not, given the entangled family web that is the Coronas. If Mr. Corona were a top-flight judge with above-board, objective, apolitical views, and an honorable attitude regarding transparency, there would be no conviction.

But that is not the case. Mr. Corona has stonewalled his information, fought all the way, issued political condemnations of the Executive and Legislative branches as well as the Ombudsman, prosecution attorneys and media. He argues that this is to protect the independence of the judiciary whilst he has blatantly tried to undermine the reputation and standing of the other branches of government. "His" court has been instrumental in blocking interviews with Supreme Court Justices that were fundamentally important to many of the impeachment charges. That's why they were dropped.

Here is why I would vote for conviction:

  • It is a political call, not legalistically pure.

  • Mr. Corona did not report substantial assets. The excuse-making reflects a fundamental opposition to transparency. Transparency is critically important to ending corruption. Every Supreme Court case going forward will come down against transparency in the future if he remains in his seat.

  • Acquittal would empower the Supreme Court, make it the dominant of the three branches of government; unassailable by impeachment, unapproachable by Executive, run by a political man of weak legal ethics.

If the Senate acquits, the Philippines will remain locked down in hidden accounts, precious little transparency, and weaker Executive and Legislative branches. The courts will remain under the direction of a Chief Justice who does not represent the Philippines responsibly or apolitically or, in my opinion, competently. Mr. Corona is guided by forces other than the law, and that is the definition of corruption.

The courts will remain a barrier to transparency and honesty.

That's bad.


  1. From: The Cricket!

    1. Good Job! Good reasonings!

    2. Someone once said that if a governmental appointed or elected offical is willing to give up (sacrifice) their own needs-- "seat" for the "good" of the nation they are "heroic" and patriotic!

    3. Question: Do you think that a "civilian
    survey and ratings committe" tasked with providing a published quarterly review that
    measurs the achievement/progress of our government and the elected/appointed employees
    would benefit the "average joe on the street"?

    Note: Yes, I realize that the average person
    does not usually read the newspapers or have
    a personal computer....but maybe this type of
    "yardstick" would be reported by the Tv and
    radio news industry to the benefit of the community!

    Yes, I have a dream, a vision of what the
    "rainbow islands" can become and achieve!
    (with the help, support and encouragement
    of all of the "good joes"!

    1. I think if it had backing from an apolitical source, such as a university, it would be better received. Being seen as apolitical is hard hereabouts. But I see how avid the press are for Pulse Asia and Transparency International ratings, I think they would pick up on this in a heartbeat, and report. It would get pretty broad coverage on the two "airwaves" TV networks. The trick is to have enough sound information that people would say, "yes, this makes sense". Versus opinions.

  2. If the Senate convicts, there is still no guarantee that transparency will be there. It can be a landmark decision, yes. But without a law forcing transparency down into everyone else's throats in government, it will just be an overly glorified exercise in changing of the guards of the status quo. Forgive the pessimism. Government has let us down more than once.

    Cheers, Joe.

    ps I go where the wind blows on this one. I'm just glad that it'll all be over soon.

    1. Yes, blowin' in the wind. I think most of us are at that stage. I agree, there is likely to be some puffery on transparency, if he is convicted. Then a lot of foot-dragging, like on bank secrecy laws. If he is acquitted, there will be hah hah some puffery and foot dragging.


    2. @brianitus: That's why I believe that after the impeachment, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) must be passed.

  3. From: The cricket!

    1. Some wise old feller stated that "justice is what you get following appearance at a "quart of law" (being ajudicated)....and "the law is what the people say it is"!
    So the "law" is not always the "law" and "legal" proceedings
    are really a stage on which the "law-if-ing" (i.e.,
    a boxing ring is a good example)... takes place!

    2. Ergo...If you are fortunate to have a "bar of justice"
    seems you still have to have some water/liquid, bucket, brush,
    sponge, and rag, etc., to complete the process of "cleaning up" the mess (somethin like brain-washing I think)....I hope the "bar" is well stocked with our
    favorite beverages!

    I am breathlessly awaiting "act II"...!


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