MANILA, Philippines – The prosecution’s decision to drop 5 out of 8 articles of impeachment does not constitute an amendment of the Articles of Impeachment.
Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile made the clarification in a press conference after a Senate caucus on Tuesday, March 6. (For the decisions reached in caucus, read ‘Senate admits Corona bank accounts.’)
Lawyers of Chief Justice Renato Corona have said that withdrawing the 5 articles might mean the Articles of Impeachment will have to be amended and sent back to the House of Representatives. They want the Senate to issue a ruling on all 8 articles.
Enrile said though that the Senate will not require the prosecution to amend the impeachment complaint.
“There’s no need because to do it, the Constitution will say there’s a prescription period for filing another impeachment case before us and we do not want the people to think that we are fooling around with this case … We are going to decide the case.”
The presiding officer of the impeachment court added that the Senate will only make a ruling on the 3 remaining articles of impeachment.
“Wala na ‘yun, ‘yung 5 other articles, out na ‘yun.” (The 5 other articles of impeachment are out of the picture.)
Conviction or acquittal only
Enrile also clarified that the Senate’s verdict is limited to only convicting or acquitting Chief Justice Renato Corona.
At the start of the impeachment trial, Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago said that the language of the Constitution says that the Senate may just decide to censure Corona.
“Acquittal or conviction, walang (no) reprimand, walang (no) admonition, it is removal or not removal.”
The impeachment trial is on a one-week break and will resume on March 12. – Rappler.com