Cuevas raises specter of impeachment 'mistrial'

Posted at Feb 21 2012 04:45 PM | Updated as of Feb 22 2012 12:45 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Defense lawyer Serafin Cuevas on Tuesday raised the specter of a possible mistrial in the impeachment proceedings against Chief Justice Renato Corona after questioning why the defense cannot object to any question posed by a senator-judge.

"While it is true that the proceedings of this court as of the moment may not amount to a mistrial, it is equally discernible that it may be raised in the future in the event when it goes worse than this," he said.

The defense lawyer noted some of the questions posed by senator-judges center on "practically everything" and would sometimes lead to the production of documents for the court.

He said that under such a situation, the defense may have no other recourse "but to go to the Supreme Court."

"That would be rather not only burdensome but almost a nullity as a remedy because it will take time preparing for the necessary pleadings before the same is scheduled before an appellate court and before any action can be made on the matter," he said.

"We might come into a situation where 'aanhin pa ang damo kung patay na ang kabayo,'" he added.

He appealed to the Senate impeachment court to make the rules of impeachment "more in the accord with the Bill of Rights, which grant every person the right to life, liberty and property."

ANC Chief Justice on Trial, February 21, 2012