Recto, Sotto: CJ guilty

MANILA, Philippines – Senators Ralph Recto and Vicente “Tito” Sotto III voted to convict Chief Justice Renato Corona, bringing the number of those who found him guilty to 17 as of posting time.

Recto, a member of the Liberal Party, lamented the way evidence was introduced, saying it left a “bad taste in the mouth.” Haste makes waste, he said, adding that articles of impeachment prepared by the prosecution were “half cooked.”

He also pointed out that there is no SALN that is “statistically perfect,” or “precise to the last decimal point.” Some information, he said, may fall into the cracks. If ever there was unwitting omission on the part of Corona, it may have been in good faith.

There are bound to be slight inaccuracies and these must be given some consideration otherwise “no government official will be left behind his desk.”

Notwithstanding these, Recto said Corona’s undeclared assets were so huge they cannot be brushed aside.

It is mandatory for a public officer like him to submit a true declaration of his SALN under oath. He should know this because, according to Recto, he punished a fellow government worker.

Recto called for a return to “regular programming” after the trial, considering that it is hard to impeach hunger and poverty itself.

Sotto for his part also voted for conviction. His was the 17th vote among the senator-judges.

Previous statements

Recto in the past said he wondered why Corona left out the acquisition cost in his SALN and belatedly declared some of his properties. “Was there a willful intent on the part of the Chief Justice to reduce his net worth and not to disclose his properties? I think that these are valid issues that we should ask.”

Recto asked the defense if Corona’s PSBank withdrawal of over P30 million on the day he was impeached was Basa-Guidote money. Lead defense counsel Serafin Cuevas took exception, saying Recto was drawing conclusions when the defense had yet to finish presenting its case.

Corona accused him of bias in a supplemental petition with the Supreme Court.

Sotto, for his part, previously said that Corona’s walkout did not sit well with the Senate. “So far so good eh. The testimony was very explosive, very important …. “Nakasira ng script so to speak” (It destroyed the script).”

Sotto doubted the defense’s promise that Corona will open his bank accounts, citing past instances when counsels turned back on their word.

Sotto belongs to the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC). He is part of the Enrile bloc in the Senate. –

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

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