MANILA, Philippines – The defense team of Chief Justice Renato Corona was disappointed by the Senate impeachment court’s decision to reject their motion to hold a preliminary hearing, but remains optimistic about the outcome of the trial.
After the court adjourned on the first day of the Corona impeachment trial, defense lawyers remained in good spirits, calling the rejection a minor “setback” that they somewhat expected.
“We are satisfied that there is an effort to hear us,” said defense lawyer Jose “Judd” Roy III. “We are not satisfied that the results did not go our way. But that is part of litigation.”
For his part, defense counsel Ramon Esguerra said that while the Senate impeachment tribunal sided with the prosecution on Day 1, he still believes the trial will be fair.
“You know we have been confident from the very beginning even during preparations that the process will be credible,” said Esguerra. “At the start of the hearing this afternoon it appeared to us credible, and very, very orderly.”
When asked about the possibility of Corona testifying to defend himself in his own trial – consistent with the prosecution’s request – the lawyers gave contrasting answers.
Esguerra was adamant in saying they would definitely oppose it because it will be a “violation of the constitutional right against self-incrimination.”
Another defense lawyer Tranquil Salvador III, however, differed in opinion.
“Kung kakailanganin, hindi ako magugulat kung uupo siya sa witness stand (If needed, I will not be surprised if he sits on the witness stand),” he said.
“Dahil siya ay isang abogado, alam niya na ito ay isang paraan para malaman talaga kung ano ang katotohanan (Because he is a lawyer, he knows that this is one way for people to really know the truth),” he added.
The defense has two legal remedies to counter the court’s decision on going straight to trial. They can file a motion for reconsideration, and if unsuccessful, can ask the Supreme Court to halt the proceedings. – Rappler.com