Cayetano, Alan Peter: ‘Guilty’

Rappler.com
Sen Alan Peter Cayetano finds Corona 'guilty' of culpable violation of the Constitution with the penalty of removal from office

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Alan Peter Cayetano found Chief Justice Renato Corona guilty, the second senator to vote for a “guilty” verdict on Corona.

Cayetano, who is seeking re-election in the 2013 mid-term elections, said he could not accept Corona’s excuse that he is not compelled to disclose his dollar deposits.

“Can we accept this interpretation?” Cayetano said. He said the court could have finished the case in a shorter time because it’s a simple one. Cayetano lamented the “technicalities” that were used to defend Corona.

He said he was asked to “abstain.” Cayetano said: “I told them, ‘if your client can’t explain, I cannot abstain.'”

Cayetano was preceded by Senators Edgardo Angara (who voted to convict) and Joker Arroyo (who voted to acquit).

He proposed the standardization of the filling up of the SALN and the passage of the Freedom of Information Act. Cayetano said he’s willing to sign a waiver to open his dollar accounts.

The senators were voting on Article 2 of the Articles of Impeachment, which accused Corona of culpable violation of the Constitution and betrayal of public trust for failing to disclose his Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN).

During the trial, in questions to Corona, Cayetano said that the Chief Justice’s interpretation of the Foreign Currency Deposits Act may harm the main purpose of the SALN law. “If that is the interpretation of all officials, won’t all politicians just put all their assets in dollar accounts and we won’t see if their net worth really changed?”

Cayetano asked the defense whether it would present evidence to support Corona’s opening statement like passbooks and bank records. The defense though said his testimony lies on his credibility. Cayetano said evidence would have made Corona’s testimony more believable.

Cayetano said the only means to hold Supreme Court justices accountable is impeachment. “Their fitness for that position is a moral issue and not only a legal one,” he said in media interviews.

Cayetano was a vocal critic of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and the secretary-general of the Nacionalista Party. He belongs to the Villar bloc in the Senate. – Rappler.com

(Below is the full text of Cayetano’s explanation of his vote during the trial’s judgment day on May 29)

“You shall do no injustice in judging a case. You shall not be partial to the poor or show preference for the mighty. But in the righteousness and according to the merits of the case, judge your neighbor.” – Leviticus 19:15

Why do we complicate the simple? Diba simple lang naman ang issue: Sino ang nagsasabi ng katotohanan? Ano ba ang katotohanan base sa ebidensiya na naibigay sa korte na ito? Ano ba ang katotohanan?

Almost 10 years ago, nasa Amerika po kami at nagpapagamot ang aking ama. Hindi pa namin alam noong panahon na iyon na may cancer na pala po siya sa tiyan. Dahil gabi-gabi naman po siyang umiiyak sa sakit around 2 o’clock in the morning, tinanong ko siya: Dad, ano ang masakit?

Nagulat po ako sa sagot niya. Sabi niya: “Alan, 40 years ago, I studied here and worked here. I always planned to go back home. 40 years later andito na naman ako. Andami nang umunlad na bansa, pero ganoon pa rin tayo.”

Nabasa ko sa kanyang mata ang simpleng katotohanan na yung corruption at kahirapan ay dinudurog ang espirito ng isang nadudurog na ang katawan. Mas masakit pala yun na yung espirito at pagasa ay nadudurog lalo na kung para sa sariling bayan.

Gusto ko po na magbago ang ating bansa. Gusto ko po na makita na nakatawa rin ang aking ama. Ngunit mayroon din pong kanser ang ating lipunan. Kanser na ang ibang batas at ang ibang pamantayan o standard sa ating lipunan ay iba para sa mayaman at makapangyarihan at iba para sa mahirap. Kanser ng korupsyon. Kanser na para sa mga mayaman at makapangyarihan na ang simple ay ginagawang komplikado.

Dahil sa kanser na ito, iba’t iba ang interpretasyon ng batas para sa mayaman at mahirap. Hindi ko po matanggap ang eksplanasyon ng pinakamataas na hukom ng ating bana na yung $2.4M ay hindi kailangang ideklara sa SALN under RA 6426.

Hindi ko po pwedeng matanggap na ang isang public official sa isang simpleng paraan na iko-convert sa dolyar ay pwede na niyang hindi ilagay sa SALN. Kaya po ba nating tanggapin ang interpretasyon na kung yung $2.4M ninyo ay ilalagay niyo sa safety deposit box o ilalagay niya sa isang kaha-de-yero sa opisina niyo o itatago niyo sa isang baul sa bahay ay kailangan ideklara sa SALN pero kapag idineposito sa banko ay  hindi kailangan ilagay sa SALN?

Mukhang ginawa nating komplikado ang simpleng simple.

Kapag Pesos ang pinag-uusapan, kahit may confidentiality, kailangan itong ideklara. Pero pagdating sa dollars hindi kailangang ideklara? Pati ba naman sa pera may diskriminasyon tayo? Pati ba naman  sa sarili nating bansa ay nangingibabaw ang dolyar sa peso?

When a public official, especially a judge, is faced with 2 possible interpretations of the law, one which will give life to the spirit of the sovereign will of the people embodied in the Constitution and another that will protect only himself, it is his moral, human, constitutional duty to choose to protect the Constitution and not himself.

If a public official has a choice between harmonizing several laws with the Constitution RA 6716, RA 6426 and the other choice is to make them repugnant with each other. O sa tagalong, hindi pwedeng ipagsama (ang mga batas na ito), ano dapat ang kanyang desisyon? Diba dapat simple? Lahat ng abugado alam yun. You construe it that you will harmonize all of these laws.

Ito po ang tanong ko: Paano po kapag may kaso ang 1.3M civil servants, ilan man sa kanila, isa, dalawa,o marami sa Korte Suprema? Paano kung halatang halatang tinago lang ang pera pero dollar account ang ginamit? Will the Chief Justice have the moral ascendancy now to convict that public official? Hindi pwede. Dahil sa sarili niyang depensa, ginamit na niya ang interpretasyong ito.

Sana po kaya kong tanggapin na ganoon yung interpretasyon niya pero dineklara pa rin niya (ang mga ito sa SALN) just in case. I would respect him for that. Even if he thinks this is what the law is but for the good of the country he declared it.

Hindi ko rin po matanggap ang interpretasyon niya sa kanyang 80M pesos na deposito na aminado niyang partly hindi niya idineklara (sa kanyang SALN) pero ipinaliwanag lang niya sa pamamagitan ng isang kwento. Wala siyang sinumite na ebidensiya – walang ITR ng mga anak niya, walang resibo, walang mga passbook. Pagkatapos ay sasabihin lang po na i-base sa kanyang credibility.

I’m not saying he’s not credible. But if it were anyone else, if it wasn’t CJ Corona on the stand, tatanggapin ba natin ang sagot na yun?

O sasabihin natin: Ano ba ang iyong ebidensya? Especially when the explanation is against human experience.

Marami po na may mga edad na sa lipunan na nilalagay sa mga anak ang account nila. Pero tama po na bihira na ang anak ang naglalagay ng pera sa kanila magulang.

Bakit ang isang clerk hindi lamang nagdeklara ng stall sa isang palengke tinaggal na? Bakit ang mahirap kapag nagtago o nagnakaw bawal? Ano ba ang sinasabi natin sa mahirap? Bawal magtago at magnakaw diba?

Bakit sa mayaman bawal magnakaw ng kaunti? Kasi pag nagnakaw ng marami, lahat na ng technicalities, batas at lahat ng pwedeng pang komplika ng sistema para protektahan siya ay kanyang nai-invoke?

Bakit sa mahirap pag nahuli, ang sasabihin sa kanya: sa presinto ka na magpaliwanag? Bakit po kapag mayaman lahat ng lusot, batas, at technicalities available sa kanya?

Sa totoo lang po, napakagaling ng pagpapatakbo ng ating presiding officer sa impeachment na ito. I admire the prosecution, the defense, and my colleagues. But let’s be honest with each other. Apatnapu’t apat na araw, higit sa dalawang daang oras ang ginugol natin sa kasong ito.

Sa totoo lang, kahit sa isang linggo, kaya nating tapusin ito kung inilagay na lang natin sa stand at nagsabi na lang lahat ng totoo sa isa’t isa. At sa tingin ko, kung mahirap ang akusado, nasa presinto at nagpapaliwanag na lamang siya.

Kapag ang isang mahirap, nahulihan ng asawa na may sweet na text sa iba sa kanyang cellphone, ano ang sasabihin niya? “Honey, mis-sent ‘yan,” o kaya ay “Hindi ko cellphone ‘yan”. Kapag ba mayaman kukuha pa ng abogado? Sasabihin mo pa ba, “Honey, hindi ko text ‘yan, text ng iba ‘yan. Nakigamit sa akin. Share kami. In trust ‘yan. Co-mingled text iyan. Kaya hindi sa akin ‘yan.”

Why do we complicate what is so simple? Technicalities should protect the rights of the people. I don’t blame this court for sticking to technicalities because this is supposed to protect the rights of the people. But, somehow in this country, it is being used to protect people who plunder this country.

I remember my law professors in Ateneo school of Law telling us, “If you are strong on the facts, pound on the facts. If you are strong on the law, pound on the law. If you are weak both on the facts and on the law, pound on the table.”

Pukpukin ang batas, kung doon ka malakas. Pukpukin ang katotohanan, kung doon ka malakas. Pero kung hindi sa pareho, pukpukin na lamang ang lamesa. ‘Yon po ang turo sa ating mga abogado. But to us as a nation, let us pound on the truth, pound on justice. Let us pound on grafters in this country.

Sabi ng iba, mabait si CJ Corona. Sabi ng iba hindi siya notorious sa Supreme Court. Kilala din namin siya at mabigat sa amin ang desisyong ito.

Some describe him as decent. Kaya sabi ng iba sa akin, mag-abstain ka na lang. Kasi kumplikado naman ang batas, kumplikado naman ito. This is my reply to them, with all due respect, “If your client cannot explain, I cannot abstain.”

If you did not disclose, we have to depose. If you are not fit, you cannot sit.

You will have your day in court. You will have your day in media. Ngunit sa impeachment case, ang pinaguusapan po natin ‘yung kabutihan ng ating bansa.

The impeachment court does not simply pass judgment on this specific case, or on this specific Chief Justice. The court action, being far-reaching and precedent-setting, is actually rebuilding a new paradigm of transparency and accountability in public office.

The verdict of this court will affect more than 1.3 million civil or public servants, government employees and officials. It will affect 100 million Filipinos in other countries. It will affect our future. Because transparency and accountability fight corruption. And corruption has a direct co-relation to investments, business, jobs, prices, and the quality of services we give our people.

Ang korupsyon ay may direktang epekto sa presyo, sa kawalan ng trabaho, at sa kita ng bawat mamamayang Pilipino.

I cannot agree with the Chief Justice’s interpretation of the law in his explanation of the P80 million and $2.4 million deposits. However, in signing the waiver that allows the Ombudsman to look into his bank accounts, he has set a new standard.

Bagong pamantayan. Sabihin man na mapalitan na siya, sabihin mo nang lumabas, pumirma pa din siya at isinumite niya ang waiver. We should all follow this standard. Ang pamantayan na ito ay dapat para sa ating lahat. Transparency of bank accounts is good.

I ask the President to instruct his cabinet to sign the waivers or resign and leave government. Lead by following, or get out of the way. Executive, legislative, judiciary. COA, Comelec, BIR, Customs, judges, governors, mayors, barangay captains, congressmen, senators, let us agree on one standard.

At least, itong ginawa ni Chief Justice ay maganda. We can agree on safeguards and protection. Hindi naman ibig sabihin ay lahat na lang kakalkalin. Payagan natin ang Ombudsman na kung may kaso o may issue sa inyo, makita niya at tingnan ito. Hindi pang-harass o pang-abuse ito. But all of us should have the same standards.

The waiver, taken together with the SALN, and if the FOI Law is passed, we will have entered a dawn of transparency and accountability in our country. It will be a new milestone in the Tuwid na Daan.

For myself, gagawin ko po ito. Kapag ako ang inimbestigahan ng Ombudsman, papayag po ako na buksan ang aking accounts. Okay po ako sa waiver. Walang dapat ikatakot kung walang itinatago. Ayaw ko din na hina-harass. Ayaw ko din nang kinukulit. But we don’t have a choice. Kung gusto nating magbago ang bansa, dapat pare-pareho.

Hindi ko makakalimutan ang pag-iyak ng aking ama noong gabing iyon, hindi dahil sa sakit ng tiyan, o dahil ang katawan niya ay unti-unting kinakain ng kanyang sakit. Umiyak siya sa pagmamahal sa kanyang inang bayan, ang bansang Pilipinas.

Nais ko po ng pagbabago. Nawa’y sa desisyon na ito, nakatulong po ako nang kaunti. Masakit man ang proseso, sana makapag-dulot ito ng pagbabago sa ating bansa.

Presume him guilty. Presume him innocent. Give him his day in court. Ascribe to him good faith. Yes, in civil and criminal cases, as well as in the media; but not today, and not in this impeachment court.

Guilty with the penalty of removal from office. 

Click on the links below for more Rappler stories on the senator-judges’ verdict. 

Add a comment

Sort by

There are no comments yet. Add your comment to start the conversation.