MANILA - Sen. Serge Osmena agreed with retired Chief Justice Reynato Puno that the ouster of Chief Justice Renato Corona would be nullified if it is proven that senators were given to bribes to convict him during his impeachment trial.
"Yes, that's true. If there was intervention, if there was bribery, it can be declared void. The Supreme Court will have to be the one to do that but first, prove it.”
Osmena maintained, however, there was no bribery. "As far as I know, no bribery." Senator TG Guingona shares this opinion.
"As far as I know, there's excess funds, they offered to the senators as [pork barrel]. I know they're not going to offer me P50 million for my vote. Nakita niyo noong 2003-2007, wala ako [Priority Development Assistance Fund]. Kalaban ko si Gloria, they couldn’t bribe me," Osmena said.
In proving bribery, Osmena added, "Depende iyan, we’re going to a very fine point of law. The SC may say, ‘Yes, we can take jurisdiction, pero maghahanap sila ng esoteric reasoning. Lawyers are usually able to do [that] in order to justify throwing this to the jurisdiction of the SC. Magaling naman sila e."
Asked if this would mean a reinstatement of Corona, Osmena said: "I doubt."
In a statement, Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares said: "I believe the evidence of guilt has been established in the Corona impeachment. Majority of the people believed that indeed he had bank accounts with millions deposited from unknown sources. The reported bribery thru DAP may have tainted the conviction even if it was correct.”
He added: “If former CJ Corona wants it nullified, he has to ask the Senate to reconvene since, according to the SC, impeachment is a political act beyond the jurisdiction of the court. I'm not sure if the Senate will reconvene the impeachment court to hear his motion. That is the problem with pork barrel, it is used in corruption and patronage politics. So the solution is to abolish pork, and I support Chief Justice Puno's call for a peoples' initiative to abolish pork."