Senators vote 13-10 to follow court's TRO
MANILA, Philippines - At least 13 senator-judges voted on Monday, February 13, to follow the Supreme Court's TRO (temporary restraining order) on the subpoena issued to the Philippine Savings Bank (PSBank) last week.
"The result was 13 members of the court opted to respect the TRO," Presiding Officer and Senate President Juan Ponce-Enrile announced.
"This matter was thoroughly discussed," Enrile said. "Each member of the court explained his/her position and a vote was taken on this matter."
The senators held a caucus Monday morning to decide on how they would, as a body, respond to the TRO. The TRO stopped the impeachment court from further ordering PSBank officials to testify on the dollar accounts of Corona.
The following senator-judges voted in favor of following the TRO: Vicente Sotto III, Loren Legarda, Jinggoy Estrada, Miriam Defensor-Santiago, Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr, Gregorio Honasan, Aquilino Pimentel III, Ralph Recto, Joker Arroyo, Manuel Villar Jr, Juan Ponce Enrile, Francis Escudero, Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
The following senator-judges voted to defy the SC order: Sergio Osmeña III, Edgardo Angara, Panfilo Lacson, Alan Peter Cayetano, Pia Cayetano, Manuel Lapid, Francis Pangilinan, Teofisto Guinonga III, Antonio Trillanes IV, and Franklin Drilon.
Reading the majority resolution, Enrile said: "The Senate asserts that it has the sole and exclusive jurisdiction to try and decide the impeachment cases, all impeachment cases. This is very clear under paragraph 6, article 11 of the 1987 Constitution."
But after deliberations, he said, "the majority of the court has decided to respect the TRO dated 9 February 2012 issued by the SC in the case filed by the PSBAnk insofar as the foreign currency deposits account. We will respect the TRO of the Court as far as the deposits falling under RA 6426," referring to foreign currency deposits.
The resolution added: "Nevetheless, the Senate reserves its right to vigorously defend before the SC the issuance of the subpoenas on foreign currency."
In explaining his vote, Trillanes said: "The issue we face is not a constitutional crisis, but a moral crisis. On one hand, the Supreme Court, which through their TRO, threw the concept of judicial restraint out of the window and intervened in the affairs of the Senate as an impeachment court to protect and cover up for one of their own. On the other hand, the Senate, which is merely performing their mandate, is clearly defined by the Constitution."
The TRO, "in my uncomplicated mind, that of a soldier," Trillanes said, "is an unlawful order."
But Escudero argued that "when we speak of morality and doing what is right I’m of the firm belief that in our search for the truth this does not in anyway give us any right to violate the law." Escudero voted in favor of the TRO.
He proposed the approval of a pending bill that mandates all public official required to file their Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth, to "execute a waiver in so far as the secrecy of the bank deposits are concerned."
Sen. Santiago, on the other hand, said that by voting to follow the TRO, she was merely trying to avert a constitutional crisis. - Rappler.com