‘Please all rise’

THE two-week break of the impeachment trial at the Senate should serve as an invitation for all Filipinos to weigh in the evidence so far presented by the prosecution team who have been trying to convince the Senate to convict Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona.

It would be a pity if the two-week break would be focused on judging whether it was right and proper for Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago, who once dreamt of becoming a president of the Philippines, in repeatedly berating her fellow lawmakers and colleagues in the legal profession.

Across social media and social networking sites, private prosecutor Vitaliano Aguirre seems to get more sympathies for standing up bravely against the feisty senator. Although some may not fully agree with Aguirre’s actuation, he is however credited for sending across a message to a bully.

Of course, there is no excuse for the pathetic performance of the prosecution team led by Rep. Neil Tupas in trying to pin down Corona. Blaming them for rushing the articles of impeachment or for dropping five of the eight charges is now water under the bridge.

Tupas and the rest of his team would have their day of reckoning. At this point, they should step up their efforts and anticipate the rebuttal of the defense team. Former Justice Serafin Cuevas and his team of legal experts would be merciless in discrediting the prosecution’s witnesses.

Otherwise, the prosecution team should be prepared to accept a shameful defeat. Tupas and other congressmen, such as Reps. Miro Quimbo, Sonny Angara and Sherwin Tugna, may just have to kiss their senatorial ambition goodbye for next year’s election.

But if all the evidence so far presented during the Senate impeachment trial were indeed true, one could also go ballistic at how the third most powerful man of the land, along with his wife and family, could have amassed such wealth while the rest of us live in poverty.

And since the impeachment trial is more a political than a judicial exercise, Corona’s case should be decided by the Filipino people. That is why it is important that we keep ourselves well-informed for the sake of the general health of our country’s democracy.

To paraphrase the words of Senate Sgt-at-arms Jose Balajadia, I do hope that we ‘all rise’ up to the challenge.

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