MANILA, Philippines - The curse word "gago" was the last straw for the prosecution and may have caused private prosecutor Vitaliano Aguirre to cover his ears during a speech by Senator-judge Miriam Santiago during the impeachment trial on Wednesday of Chief Justice Renato Corona.
Prosecution spokesman Rep. Sonny Angara said, "Siguro, di naman po, as you will recall, bago tumayo si Aguirre at si Fariñas, pina-strike out niya yung word na 'gago.' Di na nakayanan ng prosecution the use of such a word."
Ridiculed, mocked and lectured by luminaries inside and outside the Senate, the prosecution took exception to Santiago's use of the word in an oblique reference to the prosecution.
Angara said Aguirre, who was cited for contempt by the Senate impeachment court, may face a fine to 10 days imprisonment.
He has been a practicing lawyer for 40 years and was one of those who handled the defense of Hubert Webb in the Vizconde massacre case.
Aguirre is a volunteer prosecutor.
Angara said the rest of the prosecution team will not show if they share Aguirre's sentiments.
He maintained that they will respect the court.
Aguirre left the Senate escorted by security staff of the House of Representatives and some congressmen after he rested for about an hour inside the prosecution team's office.
The were cheers inside the prosecution office at the Padilla Room of the Senate as Aguirre stood his ground against Santiago.
Prosecution staff were overheard cheering from beyond their holding area, which is separated from the press working area by a divider.
It could not be immediately determined who exactly were cheering from beyond the enclosure.
Prosecution spokesman Rep. Lorenzo Tañada III, however, hopes that the case of Aguirre will not affect the vote of the senator-judges on the impeachment case of Corona.
Tañada stood by Aguirre's decision not to walk out of the trial since even that may be interpreted as a sign of disrespect.
He said the prosecution has already rested its case and Aguirre's help is no longer needed.
He, however, does not want to second guess what sanctions Aguirre will incur from the court.