JPE: CJ's removal 'immediately executory'

Posted at 05/30/12 9:45 AM

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATE) - Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile said on Wednesday the impeachment court's guilty verdict on Chief Justice Renato Corona was "immediately executory," which means Corona has already been removed from his post.

In an interview with radio dzMM, Enrile said that after the Senate's historic 20-3 vote finding Corona guilty of betrayal of public trust and culpable violation of the Constitution for non-disclosure of his Statements, Assets, Liabilities and Net worth, he signed all the notices required to all parties concerned, including Corona himself.

A Senate employee later brought the notice of judgment to the office of the SC clerk of court at 9 a.m.

Enrile said the impeachment court's penalty is removal from office and disqualification from elective and appointive public posts.

He added that there is no "reversible error" in an impeachment trial, which means the verdict cannot be overturned by the Supreme Court.

“The Senate has the sole power to try and decide and there’s no appeal. So, how can you have a reversible error? If they will question the jurisdictions of the impeachment court and reverse our decision, we will defy them. And if they want a constitutional crisis in this country, we will have one,” he said in a separate interview on ANC.

The Senate President said he already stretched the rules of evidence in favor of the defense team to prevent being accused of grave abuse of discretion.

Unjust enrichment

Enrile added that the sale of the shares of Jose Basa’s shares in the Basa-Guidote Enterprise to Corona’s daughter for a measly P28,000, led him to doubt the former Chief Justice's defense.

He said Corona’s wife knew that the corporation was worth at least P35 million.

“My God, that to me was an unjust enrichment. If there is any unjust enrichment known then that would be it because P28,000 for 98 percent control of the corporation with an asset of almost P35 million, and the transaction was between the mother and the daughter,” he said.

“I think any court in this world will rather raise its eyebrows in the case like that,” he added.

He also noted the report of the Anti-Money Laundering Council on Corona's dollar transactions was too detailed to have been invented.

“The Ombudsman presented a report based on document, so detailed, no mind even Einstein, can not invent the details covered by those transactions. No mind or a legal mind or financial minds, could concoct the contents of those documents and the numbers of documents and the transaction that happened over a period of 8 years, no one in my opinion could do it,” said Enrile.

Still in hospital

As of posting, Corona was still in The Medical City undergoing treatment.

Last night, he issued a statement saying he was leaving his fate up to God and the people, but did not categorically say he was accepting the verdict.

Lead defense counsel Serafin Cuevas said on Tuesday the Constitution and the rules of impeachment do not provide a time frame for the execution of the court's ruling.

Cuevas had said they would meet with their client and discuss what steps to take following Corona's conviction.

Cuevas has previously said they may seek relief from the Supreme Court in case of a guilty verdict.

Enrile, in the dzMM interview, said he did not expect that as many as 20 senators would vote for conviction. He said he had a gut feel that 17 would find Corona guilty.

Asked about Corona's claim government resources were used against him, Enrile said Corona's problem came from his own defense. With a report from Maria Aleta Nieva-Nishimori, ABS-CBNnews.com; and ANC