MANILA, Philippines – Ilocos Norte Rep. Rodolfo Farinas has been named deputy chief prosecutor of the House panel that is prosecuting Chief Justice Renato Corona.
This was announced by chief prosecutor Rep. Niel Tupas about an hour after Farinas walked out of the impeachment court area and vented his frustration with some reporters.
We sent an SMS to Fariñas for his comment on his appointment, but he has not replied as of this posting.
After his walkout, Fariñas told reporters he wanted to take the floor when Sen Miriam Defensor-Santiago was grilling private prosecutor Arthur Lim, but he was supposedly blocked by fellow prosecutors.
“Sanay ako na I take charge eh,” he said. “Ano ako dun, dekorasyon… Maraming nagte-text sa akin bakit daw hindi ako nagsasalita,” he added.
This is not the first time that Fariñas was blocked from taking the floor. He also wanted to take the floor on Tuesday when the trial resumed this week and when the lead prosecutor was being grilled. He was likewise blocked.
He would later joke that he came out of the Session Hall to go to the toilet.
His daughter, Camille Fariñas Mathay, who is a member of the congressman’s staff gave indications of brewing trouble. “Politics will never just be black or white. There will always be that gray matter. Very, very gray matter,” she tweeted Thursday afternoon. Fariñas is a member of the Nacionalista Party, while lead prosecutor Niel Tupas belongs to the ruling Liberal Party.
“Dad is a team player and has high principles & delikadeza…too bad as he had salient things to point out,” she tweeted when Fariñas was not given the go-signal to speak on behalf of the prosecution.
“Dad was disappointed because he wanted to argue but was stopped. He has been wanting to take the stand. Frustrating,” her tweets said. And expressing a daughter’s frustration, she also tweeted, “If you won’t let him talk, why keep him there? Hay naku!!!!!!!”
Fariñas is a Bar topnotcher. He ranked 8th in the 1978 Bar.
As vice chair of the House justice committee, he also played a critical role in proceedings to impeach then Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez, but the latter quit before her trial.
There were indications from the side of the prosecution that they are careful about antagonizing senator-judges, including senator-lawyers Miriam Defensor-Santiago and Juan Ponce-Enrile, the presiding officer of the impeachment court.
Santiago berated prosecution lawyer Arthur Lim for insisting on including Corona’s alleged violation of the Ant-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act in the Articles of Impeachment.
The prosecution concedes that the impeachment court has been “liberal enough” to the prosecution despite all the dressing-down they have received.
Yet lead prosecutor Niel Tupas asked the court to be more liberal, prompting displeasure on the part of Enrile on Tuesday. Antagonizing the court further could harm the prosecution, considering that they have been allowed to present documents and details pertaining to Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth and Income Tax Returns of Chief Justice Renato Corona.
Fariñas was elected member of the 11-member prosecution panel even if he did not sign the impeachment complaint. – Rappler.com