In the 44th and final day of the Impeachment Trial against Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato C. Corona, the Philippines Senate Tribunal assembled for the last time today to hand down their final verdict: a majority vote of ‘Guilty’ as charge under Article 2 of the impeachment complain, pertaining to failure to disclose all his assets in his Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Networth or SALN.
In a vote of 20-3 in favor of a guilty verdict, the senators hinged on the argument of the prosecution stating that Chief Justice Corona betrayed public trust and committed culpable violation of the constitution by not declaring in his SALN his money amounting to $2.4 million and P80 million.
The senators did not buy his ‘lame excuse,’ when he appeared to testify saying, he did not include his dollar account in his statement of asset because of the ‘secrecy law’ provided for in Republic Act 6426 or the Foreign Currency Deposit Act, and declared only a minuscule portion of his peso deposit arguing that the bulk of the fund in the bank did not belong to him but ‘co-mingled’ with money owned by other members of the family.
Senate president, in explaining his vote said, he disagreed that if any deposits were indeed ‘co-mingled,’ the Chief Justice was still duty bound under the laws to declare these under his SALN, “With all due respect, the CJ reliance to absolute confidentiality to RA 6426 is grossly misplaced. The Constitution under article 11 "a public officer as required by law shall submit his SALN" and the oath required him to tell the truth and nothing but the truth.”
According to the Inquirer, Enrile said “There is nothing in RA 6426 which prohibits the depositor from making a declaration of such foreign currency funds especially in this case where the constitution mandates the depositor to declare all assets owned by him or his family under oath.”
Lead defense counsel former Associate Justice Serafin Cuevas accepted the decision of the Senate acting as an impeachment court saying “Do we have other option than to accept it? If we [may have] reservation, [but] the legal process must be followed.”
As previously agreed, after having enough votes to convict Corona under Article 2, the Senator judges no longer voted for Article 3 and 7 of the impeachment complain.