MANILA - Lawyer Jose “Judd” Roy knew from the very start that ousted Chief Justice Renato Corona did not stand a chance in his impeachment trial.
In an interview with ANC on Tuesday, the former lawyer of Corona said, “At the very outset, I knew that he did not stand a chance because the environment can’t be controlled. It wasn’t a clinical trial. And the tragic part was, the complaint was worthless. In my view, he should never have been convicted…”
Corona was ousted from office in May 2012 for failing to include all his assets in his statement of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN). “They say he was convicted for not completing his SALN. But the law allows him to amend that,” Roy said.
The behavior of politicians later desensitized the public into thinking that such a constitutional exercise is no longer relevant, he said. “The [stakeholders involved] may become lax or push [unwarranted actions] further,” he said.
If basis is to be discussed, there are a lot of reasons to impeach Aquino, Roy said.
He cited Malacanang’s invitation to Senator Bong Revilla to go meet with the President at the height of the Corona trial.
“Whether it’s going to happen is a different thing. We are not aloof to the realities of politics here.”
University of the Philippines Professor Clarita Carlos called it a “successive approximation to a failed democracy.”
The public has become accustomed to the actions of politicians, she said. “We already don’t have any notion of excellence…Nagnanakaw na, ang bobo pa and yet [we still vote for them]…We have a lot of democratic deficit,” she added.
Carlos called Aquino's meeting with Revilla mere “lobbying” that happens all the time in politics.
For Roy, however, it is “direct bribery.”
“If he was just there to ask [Revilla] if someone was pressuring the senators, why would you go to all that trouble?...The President said, ‘I did not pressure them.’ He did not say, ‘I never asked them [to convict Corona].’ Those are two different things,” Roy said.
Add all these developments to an earlier allegation that a reward, in the form of the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), was given to senators, there is already a formula for bribery, he said.
Aquino could have easily televised his fears that the senator-judges then were being pressured, he said.
Aquino admitted seeing Revilla supposedly to counter pressure from influence groups that wanted to see Corona acquitted.
Carlos noted, however, “that is the problem with so many narratives that are colliding. In process-tracing, you should immediately raise the issue of motive.”
She said “motive” is not clear to determine bribery.
Roy said, however, “I have to disagree that motive is everything. A pocket full of good intentions doesn’t take you to heaven. At the end of the day, we’re measured by the results of our actions.”
In this case, it was Revilla’s presence in Malacanang at the request of Aquino, he said.
“The mere request is already a commission of offense,” Roy said. He said Aquino stepped on the shield accorded to a court.
“That is the shield or mantle of protection that we try to insulate judges with. Bawal talaga ‘yun,” he said.