Santiago to explain why senator-judges should take heed of SC TRO on CJ dollar deposit

February 10, 2012 11:00 pm 

By Jelly F. Musico

MANILA, Feb. 10 – Despite health problem, Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago has promised to attend the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona on Monday so she can explain why her fellow senator-judges should respect a temporary restraining order stopping the impeachment court from disclosing the alleged dollar accounts of Chief Justice Renato Corona.

”Though I’m still hypertensive, I will really have to attend hearing even for a while so I can explain by means of interpellation and interrogation. So we can understand fully the effect of disobedience to the TRO. It has many consequences,” Santiago said in a phone-patch interview with Senate media on Friday.

Santiago, however, clarified that she would not convince her colleagues not to oppose the TRO issued by the Supreme Court through an 8-5 vote last Thursday while the impeachment court was conducting hearing on bank deposits of Corona.

”No, I would not try to convince the senators. This is a matter of personal conscience. As a lawyer and officer of the court, my duty is to explain my position but I will not lobby on my fellow senators because it would appear that I’m superior intellectually,” Santiago explained.

Santiago, one of the judges of the International Criminal Court (ICC) elected late last year, was not present last Monday when the senator-judges voted to grant a motion of the prosecution to subpoena the peso and dollar accounts of Corona with the Philippine Savings Bank (PSBank).

The lady lawmaker said the Senate impeachment court is a class of its own but it will violate the Constitution on check and balances if it will disobey the SC.

”One branch of government should not be superior. The impeachment court should not be exempted in the check and balances. The Supreme Court can intervene because it is the supreme interpreter of the law under the Constitution,” Santiago said.

Santiago also said that the Senate, sitting as impeachment court, is not absolute court.

”We have to be very patient in the impeachment court. It requires extraordinary patience because the prize of rushness or showmanship will be public disturbance that will affect peace and order and economy,” Santiago explained.

The senator-judges will meet on Monday in a caucus to tackle the TRO petitioned by the PSBank.

Based on testimonies of PSBank president Pascual Garcia III, Corona had ending balance of P19.7 million as of December 2010 with the PSBank.

The House prosecution accused Corona of not declaring his bank deposits to his statement of assets, liabilities and net worth. (PNA) scs/jfm


Comments are closed.