Angara biased judge, says Corona

Carmela Fonbuena
The defense team of Chief Justice Renato Corona asks Sen Edgardo Angara to inhibit himself from the trial, citing his ties with the administration

Defense asks Sen Angara to inhibit

MANILA, Philippines – On the 4th month of the Corona trial, the defense panel on Monday, May 7, asked Sen Edgardo Angara to inhibit from it, citing as reasons his son’s role as prosecution spokesman and the recently-funded government projects in the Angaras’ home province of Quirino.

The defense motion, which was addressed to Sen Angara, cited a provision of the Code of Judicial Conduct which reads: “A judge should take no part in a proceeding where the judge’s impartiality might reasonable be questioned…”

Among the possible cases cited in the code is when “the judge is related by consanguinity or affinity to a party litigant within the sixth degree or to counsel within the fourth degree.”

“Undoubtedly, the mere participation of Rep Sonny Angara in any aspect of these proceedings places Senator-judge Angara in position of potential confict. What seems to be missed in all this is that Rep. Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara is the son and direct descendant of Senator-judge Angara,” the motion reads.

The motion suggests that Senator Angara has been benefiting from his son’s position. “Within the last couple of months, Senator-judge Angara successfully worked for and obtain  approval for infrastructure development projects to benefit his home province of Aurora.”

The defense team cited the P1.81-B Samar Pacific Coastal Road Project, P1.66-B Baler-Casiguran Road Improvement, and the P798.58-M Umiray Bridge Construction Project.

“Surely, it cannot be denied that Rep. Sonny Angara is eyeing a slot in the senatorial ticket of the Liberal Party. The approval of these projects will provide employment and other opportunities that will surely be claimed as accomplishments of the Angara political leadership in Aurora province.”

It added: “The only acceptable vote that Senator-judge Angara may render to dispel and undue influence on either part of his son, Rep Sonny Angara or the grant of these large-scale development projects, is a vote of acquittal. Surely, this belies any possibility and objectivity in the performance of his duties as a Senator-Judge.”

Prosecution spokesman Erin Tañada said the accusations are unfair. Marikina Rep Miro Quimbo, another prosecution spokesman, asked why the motion came at such a late stage in the trial.

The younger Angara is reportedly part of the 2013 senatorial slate of the ruling Liberal Party. President Benigno Aquino III has already mentioned his name twice as a prospective LP bet, bringing him along in his provincial trips.

Angara, like his father, still belongs to the Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino. But sources said it’s just a matter of time before he takes his oath as an LP member –