Enrile: I can’t please everybody

Hurt? Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile says his ruling on the prosecution witness stands.

NOT HAPPY. Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile is not changing his ruling despite statements of House leaders that they were hurt. Photo by Vers Noveno/Senate Pool

MANILA, Philippines – His counterpart in the House of Representatives may be hurt but Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile will not budge.

Enrile stands by his ruling rejecting the prosecution’s witness Enrique Javier, vice president for sales of Philippine Airlines. Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr., and Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales II said they and other congressmen were hurt by Enrile’s decision and how he admonished the prosecutors.

In an interview on dzBB, Enrile said he will not change his mind, insisting that the lawmakers did not allege bribery in the impeachment complaint.

“I cannot please everybody,” said Enrile. “Any lawyer listening knows what they want is wrong. Now, if they will be hurt by our words or my words as presiding officer, they should tell me what I did wrong. I will tell them there is already a ruling.” 

Enrile made the ruling on day 21 of the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona.

He scolded Chief Prosecutor Niel Tupas Jr. and prosecutor Sherwin Tugna for insisting on Javier’s testimony when he already ruled it was irrelevant to Article 3. “No, no, no. There is a limit to the patience of this court,” he said Tuesday.

Courtesy

In the same interview, Enrile denied that he disregarded interparliamentary courtesy.

“They can’t say I don’t respect the House of Representatives because if I did not, I should have subpoenaed them when the defense requested it. Or Congressman Banal? I should have subpoenaed him, too, but because of interparliamentary courtesy, I did not do that.”

The senate president added, “I am a presiding officer. I am also thinking of the interest of the other side. I cannot lean toward anybody. There was an objection, what do I do? I will not rule?”

Enrile insisted that Javier’s testimony is trash because Corona’s alleged acceptance a PAL platinum card giving him “unlimited courtesy travel” falls under bribery, which was not alleged in Article 3.

Maski na sa husgado yun, maski na Korte Suprema yun, maski na sa Court of Appeals o anumang jury trial, basura yun. Trash. Ano ba ang trash? Basura.” (You bring it to any judge, even to the Supreme Court or even the Court of Appeals or any trial jury, that’s trash. Trash.)

After Enrile’s ruling and strongly worded admonition, the prosecution decided to drop two charges under Article 3 on Wednesday, February 22.

Prosecutors instead proceeded to present Article 7. The trial will resume on Thursday, February 23, with Justice Secretary Leila de Lima’s cross-examination. – Rappler.com

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