Enrile to Corona camp: Don't defy us
MANILA, Philippines – The Senate will not back down in its decision to convict ex-Chief Justice Renato Corona even if his camp appeals this before the Supreme Court (SC) and triggers a constitutional crisis, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile said Wednesday, May 30.
“If they will question the jurisdiction of the impeachment court, and reverse our decision, we will defy them. And if they want a constitutional crisis in this country, they will have one,” Enrile said in an interview on ANC's Headstart.
He said this was also the tone with which he apprehended Corona's lawyers after the former Chief Justice walked out of the impeachment court last week. “I told them, 'You want to create a revolution in this country? Start now, go to the streets. I am willing to face you,'” Enrile said.
To support his stance, Enrile cited Article XI of the Constitution that states, “The Senate shall have the sole power to try and decide all cases of impeachment.”
Based on this, Enrile said the SC has no right to review the impeachment court's decision. “Otherwise they will be the one to make the final decision, in violation of the Constitution,” the Senate President explained.
Enrile, who voted to convict Corona, said the decision should help Filipinos "grow and mature as citizens of a democratic nation."
Like Enrile, the Ateneo de Manila University's Political Science Department expressed apprehension over the defense panel's pronouncements that it could appeal the impeachment court's verdict before the Supreme Court.
“Their threat needlessly brings the Philippines to the brink of a constitutional crisis,” the Political Science Department said in a statement. (Read full text below.)
“We appeal to the defense panel and the supporters of former Chief Justice Corona to recognize the authority of the people's elected fiscalizers and to safeguard the democratic gains achieved during the trial. The deepening of Philippine democracy requires the utmost respect for constitutional processes,” the departent said.
Meanwhile, the position of Chief Justice remains vacant after the impeachment court convicted Corona. The next senior justice, Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, now serves as acting Chief Justice.
The SC is holding a special en banc session Wednesday, and it is likely the justices will tackle the effects of Corona's removal. – Rappler.com