Senate to use same impeach rules in Merci trial: Chiz

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 13 2011 01:35 PM | Updated as of Dec 13 2011 09:35 PM

MANILA, Philippines- Sen. Francis Escudero on Tuesday said the Senate is ready to convene as an impeachment court next year to hear the impeachment complaint against Chief Justice Renato Corona.

Speaking to ANC, Escudero said the House of Representatives must first assign a panel of prosecutors that will try the Articles of Impeachment against Corona. He said Corona will also be asked to respond to the allegations in the impeachment complaint.

Escudero said the Senate will be using the same rules of impeachment adopted for the impeachment trial of Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez before she decided to resign.

"We'll be adopting the same rules, most likely subject to amendment, that we adopted supposedly for the impeachment of Ombudsman Gutierrez. In fact, yung mga robes na hindi namin nagamit nung panahon ni Ombudsman Gutierrez baka ngayon namin magamit," he said.

Escudero said the Senate rules committee will need to calendar the impeachment trial of Corona.

He said that if Corona is convicted in at least one of the 8 Articles of Impeachment, he can be removed from office. He said it would be interesting to see the Articles of Impeachment and how prosecutors could separate the independent and separate acts of the Chief Justice from the actions made by the Court.

He also noted that nothing is stopping the House of Representatives from filing another impeachment complaint against the other Supreme Court justices.

Escudero, meanwhile, said he does not know if it will be 22 or 23 senators that will preside as judges in Corona's impeachment trial after Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago was appointed as a judge in the International Criminal Court. Santiago earlier said she will need to leave the Senate after she was elected to the ICC.