MANILA, Philippines – How does it feel to be the first to cast a historic vote?
If it were up to Senator-judge Edgardo Angara, the voting in the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona would not be alphabetical. Yet, he said he is ready for the task.
“This is the second time a public vote has been taken during the time I was in the Senate. The first one was on whether we’ll continue with the US bases way back in 1991. We all stood up. I was first to stand up and to explain my vote.”
Angara said if it were up to him, he would like to change the routine of voting alphabetically but he does not mind voting first in the Corona trial.
“I think it’s always good to put your explanation on a historic vote like this. You don’t do this everyday. This is rare, perhaps once every century or once in decades so this is a momentous occasion.”
Angara will lead the 23 senator-judges in voting. The only exception to the alphabetical voting rule is president officer, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, who has the privilege of voting last.
Senators will vote on whether to convict or acquit Corona after the closing arguments set on Monday, May 28.
Angara said the vote will likely be made on Tuesday, May 29, to give senators time to sleep over the arguments.
‘Summations still crucial’
Angara told reporters that he expects the prosecution to highlight that it has a strong case while the defense will likely say there is no clear and convincing evidence against Corona.
Despite statements of some of his colleagues that their minds are already made up, Angara said the closing arguments will still be important.
“It’s important because to some, there are still areas where they have unasked questions. When we studied this during the weekend, there may still be unclear points. That can be explained by both sides.”
Angara added, “ [The summation] helps sharpen and focus the issue on the minds of the judges.”
The prosecution and the defense panels will each have an hour to sum up their case. – Rappler.com